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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    August 12, 2013
    10:00 - 2:01pm EDT  

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>> news reports are indicating for eric holder will call changes in the nations mandatory minimum prison sentencing guidelines in resurgent dacs -- in race -- in reaction to certain drug related charges. we will cover that at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. a town halle meeting with bobby scott and the focus will be on the affordable care act. life startingat at 6:00 30 p.m. here on c-span. on c-span two, it is live coverage of a national press club event looking at the public affairs officers and whether they help or hinder transparency efforts. journalists and foreign government officials will take part in that we live in 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span two. of all the handsome young
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officers around the my grandmother, she was very beautiful. my grandfather had been trying to talk to her. when the ship shook, they rushed to go upstairs and do what they had to do. they left her standing there. grandfather fell in behind her going to the step to the upper deck and they came running back. they said her father was dead and my grandmother fainted. into the arms of the presidential. caught her tenderly and gently. >> this week, the encore presentation of our original series " first ladies." anna harrisonto belies a johnson, all this week
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at 9:00 on c-span. during tonight's program, join in the conversation at. facebookcom. >> inside the media business this is a huge story because it is the first time that a true digital native has stepped into one of the legacy media businesses and broadcasting companies. if he acts in any way like he did in disrupting the book publishing business, the bookselling business, the delivery of streaming media and certainlye- commerce, mr. bezos will probably disrupt and re-and vision what it is to be a newspaper in the 20th first century and how that business remains a business. >> journalism is manifesting itself and disrupt -- in different ways. it is the intersection between video and newspapers. it is hard to say where it is headed. it is still being figured out.
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jeff bezos buying the post, that is one example of here is a possible future of newspapers. >> the future of the newspaper industry tonight on " the communicators" on c-span two at 8:00 p.m. supreme court journalists agreed last thursday that supreme court justices are cameras ino allow their courts for fear of being mocked. an annual conference took place hosted by the association for education and journalists. this is about 90 minutes. verythe supreme court is staid institution, not known for its transparency, not known for its adaptability to change and
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yet, we are living in an age of communications revolution. about what it was like 40 years ago when we used telephones on the wall, when we did not have the internet, no e- mail and no blogs and no twitter and facebook. when did we watch the news? it was once in the evening. >> and you still showed. [laughter] >> a little commercial message there. affecting the court? that's what we will talk about today. how has this affected the court and also the job of the journalist in covering the u.s. supreme court? there are questions that arise from this topic. justices more transparent in the digital age than they were before? have they come out and been more
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public? is the court adapting to this new media environment? in some ways, we see that because they have a website. they did not have a website 20 years ago and are we seeing the justices on the cusp of using social media. is this something we will see more of in the future? what about in terms of covering the court? -- because we have the internet, is the job of covering the court easier today? is there more information about the court? are the justices providing more information because of the internet? is the task of gathering information by reporters easier today? more difficults because there is such a plethora of information about the court that you have to sort through
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the information to get what is reliable? difficult because the expectations placed on journalists to get information that would be readily available and some other institution but is not available at the court. everyone expects that kind of information to be provided. is it more difficult because the court is not adapting in a way that other institutions do? has that perhaps reduced the courts newsworthiness if you are not adapting to social media? are you less-newsworthy >> or are things about the same ? this is what i want to hear from the journalists and we have several journalists who will help us through this topic. i want to introduce them and i will introduce them starting with robert barnes on might you mediate (he covers the supreme
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court for the washington post and has done so since 2006 and has been a reporter and editor at " the washington post" for 26 years. from" the newis york times." pete williams has covered the court and the justice department for nbc news for the past 20 years and prior to that, he was assistant secretary of defense in the george h w bush administration. who morrow is at the end covers the court for the national law journal and prior to that, he was a reporter for " legal times" and" usa today." i want to introduce terry to wner in the middle of all these reporters. she is here because she is an
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academic from oakland university who studies to things that are quite relevant to this particular panel. one is the supreme court and the press and the other is the role of new media. we will start with professor towner and after she finishes her presentation, we will go tonythe line from tom on and then we will open it up for questions. oakland university located in rochester, michigan. i specialize in american politics and media and politics and this is one of the reasons i am here. onresearch tends to focus the role of social media and campaigns and elections with the specific focus on the task to presidential elections, dubbed as they web 2.0 elections.
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examined how journalists and reporters frame media coverage of the court particularly regarding affirmative action cases. recently, the content about how the media frames different types of court coverage, looking at comparing and contrasting different types of coverage in the mainstream for us, the minority press as well as online media. one of the things we will talk about is how is social media being used by the public? this is about a germanic change and how people are -- this is about a dramatic change. we are no longer reading our morning paper before we go to work and no longer waiting patiently for the 5:00 news. 72% of show that about online adults are using social media, facebook, twitter, you
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name it -- about 20% of the public is using social media to get news. 2% of people said they were using social media to obtain news. today, that is up to 20%. it is still increasing. media is important, it is an interactive technology. will fadea fad that away. many people told me this is a agree withdo not that. social media has now permeated our lives and become a main tool for gathering information and it is evolving every day. it is also important to highlight that consumers have not given up other means of obtaining news. television is still king. i'm sure people will be happy to hear that.
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they will not be out of a job anytime soon. it is where consumers receive their news. social media is supplements and a path to news. we have seen how social media has transformed politics, the court system -- we s can't -- we see our campaign is campaigning online. journalists who are even holding online chats with consumers online. the big question -- and these veteran journalists will touch on this today -- how is social media changing the newsroom? we see journalists camp early interact and connect with readers and on facebook perhaps facilitating a two-weight conversation -- a 2 -- way conversation. instantsee on twitter
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reporting, live tweeting. gone are the days of journalists sitting in the back of the courtroom writing notes on a note at and later writing 1000 word articles which appears the next day. no longer is that happening. in two wrote an article hours and it was published. we want instantaneous news. get it first and get it out right. twitter allows journalists to do this, get information about the court out there faster. social media can tip off journalists to news and lead them to stories. stories are often times broken by citizens now today. using social media, journalists can also target specific audiences. and can find new audiences social media may be a way to inform young people about how our judicial system works. social media and court coverage -- cook social
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media coverage of trials has increased as the popularity of social networks and the media's use of social media has increased. photography often times are not allowed in courtrooms but many judges are now permitting laptops, smart phones, allowing reporters and journalists to tweet live. twitter reporting and live blogging is becoming a norm and courtrooms. in fact, it is becoming expected. we have seen smartphone videos being uploaded right from the courtroom. we have pros and cons. the news media has a very important influence on how the public perceives and understands the judicial system. on thehe way we act information about the proceedings as it happens in the courtroom. this is critical because in order to maintain public
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confidence and trust, the court has to engage with the public. anelieve you just wrote article about how public confidence in the court is on the decline. social media may be a way to open the court, pull back the curtain to the public, getting out information about what is going on in the courtroom. with that said, the judicial system no longer has to really rely on journalists or reporters anymore. they can now report the news or put out press releases themselves using social media. it allows people to have access to that information. we have to take the bad with the good. - pulling back that curtain can have a negative impact on public perception. out it is treated, it is there forever. in the age of social media, reporters are pressured to quickly get out stories and upsets that may contain errors. -- and updates that may contain errors, in accurate information
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which is like a virus that spreads. an article about howwe have seen mf this. comingurate reporting from the supreme court on the cnnthcare law, fox news, both reported in minutes after the decision came out that the court had struck down the individual mandate. the role of social media was noticeable. there were two erroneous reports and then it was corrected. the result is that news reports are getting shorter the than ever before. we are talking about 140 characters. that is a very short analysis. this meets court coverage could of the depth analysis interpretations and applications and views of both sides. we have to hope the consumer will click on that full article and read the whole column. we also see untrained citizen journalists doing reporting on
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-- without editors and a social demand for we see news increasing and the demand for court information increasing. journalists are pressured to create multiple stories each day. one of the biggest questions for --ed amex and consumers is what is this doing to the quality of court coverage? is it getting better or is the quality declining? previous collars have analyzed different media coverage and they are looking at quality and quantity. research has examined online news as well as blogs and social media -- something that has not been examined yet because it is new. online forces that are completely new report about the court allowing for original reporting. diverse viewpoints, topics that -- that are absorbed
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by the mainstream. many social media outlets are outside of the corporate control, perhaps allowing different perspectives on being available to consumers. a lot of online newspapers out there are nonprofit sites. they are not affiliated with a corporation. news,ch shows that online blogs and online newspapers offer a greater diversity of topics. they rely on unofficial sources, they offer perhaps more open opinion in their reporting. and recent research i have conducted, i examine the mainstream and online only newspapers of the affirmative action case. i was examining online only newspapers. i found that online only newspapers strike more of a balance between different types of frames than more mainstream news. mainstream news -- >> what is a frame? >> if you want pro or anti
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point of view. i see that online only newspapers present different frames or different storytelling. it seems in my analysis of that online -- it seems to present a mixture of these pro-and anti- frames. a reason for this could be is that online sources don't rely on traditional journalistic routines. they perhaps don't have an filter allowing them to bring in different frames are different types of storytelling. perhaps they can draw on unofficial sources. they can be an advocate. this is one of the reasons why we may see this. overall, this suggests that online news maybe good, offering versatility, this could be considered good for democracy. but we have to trust the public
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to expose themselves and consume a diversity of viewpoints. if the public only reads one source, this could be bad. perhaps in the future we could see john roberts on twitter which i think would be fabulous, very funny. to those in the trenches here to give where do we go from here and what are the implications. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. of tantalizingaw items to react to. and alsoy to do that get into some of the ways in which the supreme court has been completely resistant to the
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modern media. it is not an institution that moves quickly. in fact, i am wearing a tie today that i bought at the supreme court gift shop are. it has tortoises on it. [laughter] tortoises are a mascot at the supreme court. it symbolizes the slow and steady pace of the law and that goes for its progress towards transparency and access as well. as someone who has covered the court for 33 years, i can certainly attest that coverage is completely different now. i will not tell you to many back in the day stories but it used to be that if i had an interesting tidbit about the court, i could put it in my back pocket and report it when i got around to it.
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today, if i get a good item, chances are someone else already has it and has tweeted about it. justices ever saw the off the bench. that is still mainly the case. now we have lunch with the chief justice once per year which is better than under judge rehnquist when we had lunch every two years. it is a beach where there was and still is a lot of collegiality but not a lot of scoops. because of the momentum and the intensity of new media, we are routinely eating each other's lunches with exclusives large and small. the competition is at an over all, i think the vast changes brought by new media platforms has been to the good even though numerically, there are fewer
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journalists covering the supreme court. the overall output of information about the court that is available to the public has vastly increased and that is great. in this expanded universe, there is room for both the 140 character tweet and the analysis that my colleagues here are just terrific at. that kind ofthink analysis, that kind of coverage will always be needed even though you can find a supreme court ruling online very quickly. it does not mean that the public will read it and there will still be some role for journalists to interpret. i want to talk about the ways in which the supreme court is still antediluvian ways when it comes to public and press access. fred graham used to say that only the vatican and the cia
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were less interested in press coverage than the court. the cia has a, youtube channel and the pope tweets. [laughter] not yet the supreme court. is thegest symbol prohibition of any kind of broadcast coverage of the proceedings. we will delve into that later but i will say that it is crazy in this day and age that the court has not recognize the premier media of the 20th century even as we are well into the 21st. i would also say there is a prohibition but we cannot have an electronics within the courtroom. we cannot tweet like other courtrooms. we cannot do anything from within the court. very entrance -- in transient about that. website to the court
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as part of its website and it is very user friendly but quite often, you have to know the lingo of the court and how it to know where to look. if you look at other supreme court's around the world, you get much more. canada's high court offers curricula to elementary school teachers and others. australia has a mini documentary about its high court on its watt side and the south africa constitutional court gives you a wouldl tour which frighten the heck out of supreme court police if that was happening in our supreme court. refusals -- for reasons that are completely mysterious, the justices almost never explained why they are stepping aside in a -- in a given case. we have to speculate based on what the report about possible stock ownership and what can
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learn about family or other connections. bench activities -- more and more, justices are stepping out and talking at law schools and other venues. when they have a book to sell, they are more accessible but it is completely hit and miss and neither the court nor the routinely announce when or where they will make appearances. andrew cohen of cbs wsrecently d be a media pool trailing the justices when they speak just as there is for the president. it is an admiral idea but there are nine justices and only one president and it might be logistically different but the are suchthey independent actors, all nine justices, i don't think they would ever consent to anything like that. they still set their own rules for coverage in many instances. prohibiting broadcast coverage of their remarks and their hosts 10 to give in because they would rather have a supreme court
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justice on their cap is the cameras covering them. -- you in announcements were talking just now -- opinion announcements -- you are talking about getting the affordable care act case is wrong. that would not have happened if we had all been able to listen outside the courtroom to the announcement of the opinion by chief justice roberts. more than that, these terrificents are a summary of their decisions often in plainer language than in their written decisions. for technical reasons that could easily be overcome, these slices of history are not available until long after the term is over. finally, protests -- at the supreme court, the court police
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officer once told me that the first amendment to ginza where the marble begins at the supreme court. [laughter] you can print process on the steps of the capital but not on the steps of the supreme court. a courageous federal judge struck down not having demonstrations but the new court has been reinstituted. logic is that the court does not want to be seen as an institution that can be swayed by protests so therefore, they will prohibit the protests in the first place. it is a bizarre justification in my view and it is very odd the court is so protective of the first amendment and other contents but is hostile to it in its front yard. we will talk about these later but i wanted to make those parliamentary points. >> i will give you a little example of what terri was
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talking about. it is not a court, it is a spokesman for the u.s. attorney's office. boston sent out a tweet that there was an and dykeman against two of -- there was an indictment against one of the in thethe complicit boston bombing. we had to wait to get the indictment to see what it said. very few courts actually have the capacity to have public information people much less tweet. of what you can say -- you have to get the chief justice's permission -- that is quite cumbersome. as journalists, in terms of social media being a resource, you don't think of it in supreme court's. you think of it as a train derailment and you have the eyes and ears out there tweeting and sending pictures and their own views and you really can get a 360 degree view of what happened. not so in the supreme court. if you want to know what happened, you have to be there
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and hear the argument or get the decision. it is not like social media is let 1000 voices bloom. there is really just nine voices. there is just one opinion so social media as a source of news is something for -- is not something for people cover the supreme court. if you are covering a wire aation or news station on decision 43 years ago, you would be the cutting edge. you would provide the first word to the outside world. more than likely, you would find yourself not sitting in the courtroom but below it on a tiny cubicle on the first floor under the justices and one of your confederates would be up in the courtroom near the bench and when the decision was handed down, they would take the decision and roll it up and stick it in a pneumatic tube and you would get it down below. longs a -- if there was a decision, you get the back cap and write your story.
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you would hope it is not a reverse decision. [laughter] at 43 years ago, you were somebody on the outside keenly interested in what the supreme court was going to do, your first -- you would first hear about on the radio. even before social media, there was live coverage. if you were lucky, you might read it in the afternoon newspaper assuming the city you live didn't still have one. it was a case of national interest, you might learn about it on one of the evening network tv newscasts. your best chance would still be to read about it in the newspaper the next morning. gone andatic tubes are so are most afternoon newspapers. we have not on the way of the pneumatic tube. the way we cover the court has changed but not as much as you might think. change is not so much social media as cable television. when i started covering the supreme court, there was only
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one cable news network -- i cannot remember the name of it now -- [laughter] reporters 43y for years ago would have been the exciting radioshack trs-80 - the blazing 32 kilobytes of memory. there was no world wide web and tom goldstein has yet -- had yet to see his first birthday. one of the biggest changes has been the development of an intensely competitive environment in cable news. on the days of the really big decisions, i cannot have the luxury of sitting in the warm and listening to the summarization. or itften make more sense gives you a quick core sense of what the decision is. i am standing in front of a camera outside waiting for the first word of a decision. this past year, nbc news struck up a partnership with the a very adult tom goldstein. he is the publisher of scotus bl
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og, devoted entirely to the supreme court. it is supreme court of the u.s.. back at the old wire service days -- he was getting the first look at the decisions as an extremely fast in turn ran them outside to us. i had tom on the phone in one ear and waiting for the intern to run them out in the other ear. our website, nbc news.com carried a livescotus blog at the same time. most of the time, we are competing with scotus blog. certainly blogs and websites have changed covering the court in one specific way and that is that it is now possible to do most of your work covering the supreme court in your jammies. you used to have to go to the court if you wanted to know what the case was a bout and pull the stack of breeze off the shelf and read them.
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that is not true now. you can read all the briefs. everything, the lower court decisions, the appeals court decisions, the amicus briefs, everything online. the other thing that has changed for me is the range of expert commentary that is now available. i am not speaking of social media. i am talking about more traditional logs -- blogs and news websites. sentencing case, we look at the sentencing law blog,. there are legally specialty websites that offer instant analysis or instant takes on the news and supreme court cases we did not used to have. the court is very slow to embrace the digital revolution. it is a court that not only has tortious ties but gives cool to arguing councils.
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you can see the briefs on the supreme court website and you can get transcripts of the oil argument and you can hear the on the friday after the cases argued to make sure that all the the news value is completely drained out. [laughter] just to give you a brief insight of how eager the court is to this cutting edge technology known as radio, in the olden days, going back to the bush v gore case, the supreme court agreed to release the audio the same day. this cutting edge they agreed to release the audio of the oral argument in the 2000 election case. the same day. in subsequent terms, the court would agree to do that with
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certain high-profile cases. --y did it last year erring during the obamacare arguments. the court then said that to make this incredibly transparent, we are just going to take the oral all three days and make them available on the website friday. --howing how open and they are. we asked the chief and one of our lunches -- i am violating the secret of these lunches -- [laughter] adam told me-- [laughter] we said can we do this more often and have the same day arguments? he said i don't think it will happen. he says he does not want to be in the position of trying to decide which case it is newsworthy enough to merit to this kind of treatment.
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he says the justices fear it is the camel's nose of television coverage and they don't want to go there. >> thank you for having me and it is a great leisure to be here. about thealking difference between 43 years ago and today and i thought i would start -- i have only cover the court for five years which makes me junior. even in the five years i have covered the court, things have changed substantially. lindaat predecessor, greenhouse covered the court for 35 years and she was the third most senior person when she left. she did not have a computer at the courthouse. there is a quarter-mile stairs and pressroom downstairs and everybody these days is rushing downstairs. only five years ago, it was impossible to do that technically.
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linda would come down and having heard the justices, give you a private seminar on what they were thinking in colloquial down, grabbed the decision, read it at leisure, reflect, insults, consider, have a sandwich, as light was fading in washington, she would give birth to a first-class story. only clearly explains the complicated and sometimes overlapping opinions but also put them in context, spelled out the possible consequences, and it was a thing of beauty and it would arrive on your doorstep in something like 24 hours. that was fine. that was the way the world worked. the nostalgia i have for those things cannot be understated. [laughter] until 10 or 11 years ago, we would routinely publish very
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extended like full-page excerpts because that was the only way you could see a part of the decision. an associate in a new york city law firm, weeks would pass before i would get on a list of 15 lawyers to get the final decision and read it. all of this is gone and we now live in an area -- in an era of speed. what i noticed this last term is that it is bleeding into the level -- the medium cases. i understand when same-sex marriage or the healthcare case was decided, we really have an obligation to get something out fast to our readers. i am now having a reflexive impulse from my editors to get downstairs and put up four or six paragraphs almost immediately. my four or six paragraphs shooting from the hip are i hope not wrong. but not great and not better
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than the associated press. yet, that will have the greatest readership of anything i write that day. over the day, i will write several other versions, each of them that are than the last. i hopet morning's paper i will have a nice archival last remaining subscribers on the upper west side will read. [laughter] iss need for speed pernicious and it tends to take care of various and motion them together. them together. i don't think it is a special skill of mine to be a wire reporter but if i bring something to the table, it's the ability that all my colleagues -- you get better at the job the longer you do it because there are very few people, including law professors, who are actually familiar with the courts docket in the sense of
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reading the briefs, going to the arguments, reading the decisions, seeing their habits, seeing the patterns as they chew over similar issues year after year and you just are able to not only explain the given case better but to explain the run of cases, the sense of where the court is going and where it fits into broader doctrine because you do it long enough. at the same time, i think there is a decent argument to be made that the supreme court is over -- covered. i don't think we have had fewer reporters since i have had an there are fewer 20 years ago. there are days when 20 of us write essentially the same story and you put them side-by-side and they look very similar. quotation in same the third paragraph and follow journalistic conventions and fan us and balance. that not entirely clear some of those resources should not be devoted to the rest of the american legal landscape.
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state supreme courts and circuit courts are being bled dry and consequential decisions out there are not getting the coverage. they deserve media, i social basically agree with what pete said. to the extent it is a gateway to get to our stories and what people link to our our stories which is a good thing. twitter itself can be a nice way to make sure you don't miss anything. it is a version of a wire service. there are not infrequently things that do not rise to the level of a " new york times" story. stories that often tony will do a good job but i cannot justify that so at least i can nod in that direction by
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tweeting something. we probably have various philosophies on this but it is also a way to celebrate your competition. because there are so fewscoops of we use one little part the june the listed toolbox and we are basically interpreting public events, we can be quite friendly. i think twitter is an opportunity to celebrate when one of your colleagues did had anng cool or insight or wrote about an aspect of the culture of the court that may have been under-look. ability toa kind of get past the notion that we all compete. and have more interaction. >> thank you. me agree wholeheartedly with adam that he should be reassigned. [laughter] waste his is going to life at the supreme court.
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[laughter] >> i would be great at the pentagon. >> i think we have similar that thebout the way revolution in technology has changed the way we do our jobs. i will not go on too long and we will get to your questions. for an example, i thought it might be -- give you an idea that when a big case comes along like same-sex marriage cases " theear, my job at the orals to go to arguments and write a story as soon as i could run downstairs as fast as i could to give a radio interview, to come back to the office and do a google
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hangout in which i was questioned along with others who were interested in the subject and then to redo that story that i had written earlier to make it a little better for the web and then to actually start thinking about what i was going to do for the next day's paper. it is a rhythm that i think has really completely changed for all of us, as you've heard. learned inhing we coverage for our web audience is the web audience is very used to and as news immediately if we are in the courthouse or breaking the twitter right from our seats which we cannot do. was we did was an idea that borrowed from " the wall street there was an
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overflow room where the reporters could listen to the arguments. among thehe front row reporters. we had another reporter in the back row who could get out a little easier. tos first reporter listened 30 minutes of the oral argument and then she came out and started what looked like a real- time blog but what was actually her putting down her notes. chief justice roberts asked this -- here was the answer -- [laughter] postt's how the washington misleads its readers. [laughter] thing happenede and it got huge traffic because that's how people are used to getting that news. even if the court does not really cooperate in allowing us to report the news that way.
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we could probably go on and on about the way technology and new media has changed the way we do things but i am always reminded that times like this where when ever aia says judge asks you a question, even if you don't like it, find a way to answer it. it is the only time you can be sure that they are actually listening to you. maybe that's what we need to learn. [laughter] >> thank you very much. let's open it up to questions from the audience. >> i am a broadcast student. when you tell the story of the supreme court and the television cameras, [indiscernible] >> i don't know what percent of the audience that watches
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nightly news. it changes throughout the day. i assume when i come out of it harder for am announcing the decision, nobody has seen it yet. you are at the pointy end of the spear. i guessevening news, our goal is like what it is for people who write a newspaper story. make it make sense for me. to read -- as it is the thought that occurs to me about people who blog trials are people who blog oral arguments, the most telling question may be 42 minutes in and may change everything. the few people who can sit here and look at all that and stay with it, yes, they will get that but for those who have actually have had jobs during the day or children's to raise our dogs to walk or whatever, it is a chance to say i have seen all the stuff and been hearing
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it come at me all day. boil it down and put it in a bite sized chunks for me. we have to explain what the controversy was. when you come on, you have to say is it a big deal. the gun-control case occurs to me. this was the first time in the nation's history that the supreme court has ever said with the second amendment means. i thought that was a egg deal. -- i thought that was a big deal. the fun things about covering the supreme court and one thing i dearly love this to cover a story all day and then read how these guys write it the next day. i love that because, thank god, there are still newspapers. it is wonderful people get 140 character bursts of news but they will also read adam and robert and tony in the paper so
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they can really understand the supreme court decision. than 100e complicated 40 characters. it is more important than that. if you are not reading those articles, just watching me, god forbid -- youpe you are, thank -- channel four in most major markets. [laughter] story are not reading the these guys are writing, you are cheating yourself. you are not having what you need. you are eating a cheap diet. >> the interesting premise is the question of for whom are you writing and what do they know already about the particular case. also, what do they know in general? i find that to be a real challenge. thisl live with part of verified world. we know the advocates and we know the law professors follow the stuff and we interact the judges occasionally with justices.
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you have a human impulse to impress those people with an insight about some small aspect of a case. you may be doing your readers a disservice in the process. you have to control that impulse and picture a reader who is educated but not a lawyer and does not follow the court closely and find a way to write to that person while you don't defend the person who knows a lot of stuff. you have to slip in some of the background material so it does not stick out. then you will leave some people behind. by its nature, the stuff is complicated. >> there is another part of that and that goes with this idea of proliferation of coverage and analysis of the court which all of us really take in every day. sometimes you forget to write the obvious. someone else has written it or you have read it or you think it is out there. i often find a story i have
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kind ofthat i think is pretty obvious or the ones i get the most reader response or from people in the newsroom who are very smart people who pay attention to news all the time but still they do not do what we do and sometimes we have to step back and think what people really know about this issue. >> yes. that one of the things that was liked about selective consumption of media not feel youes have to dumb down covers. he wass like you have -- talking about nightly news -- he -- you have an audience coming to you. he feels like he can actually elevate the coverage and talk about the important issues.
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i am interested to see whether the panel agrees with that. it's always about the audience. i used to cover the court for " usa today." the challenge is really the same. sure that myty readers now know what habeas corpus is but i cannot assume to much more than that. lawyers do real estate and they are not experts in criminal law. i think you always have to make it simple as you can. is a political idiot savant. he thinks you should know certain information.
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[laughter] a conspiracy and read orrin curr and read the 10,000 wod -treatise if you want to. there is ace a civilized thing and that is the great ng about social media and websites is that you can drill down. i have never used the word 'habeas corpus' on television because i don't think people know what that is so we write around it. >> i used joint and several liabilities. and lived to tell about it. [laughter] i am curious to know if you can share about your social media habits and what platforms you really like? >> among the blogs, i checked in blog and howard who
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is on hiatus and that makes me nervous. i sometimes look at specialized blogs. i follow many people on twitter but i don't find facebook useful. it reminds me of my parents christmas letter. [laughter] >> that sounds right. becausemakes me nervous it is too much information. i think it is the way you find out about decisions and the lower courts faster than almost anywhere else. reportinguly valuable tool, i think, in a way that i would not have thought a couple of years ago. that is a place that i think has really changed the way we do things.
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is not exactly social media but it is good old- fashioned e-mail -- the biggest in my longerk tenure, i suppose, when i first started coming to the court -- it was like pulling teeth to get law firms to talk about a case especially if they had not read it. now, i routinely get 30 pitches per day for even the most minor cases. i do a lot of business cases that a lot of obscure lawyers are interested in. these are pitches offering people their own lawyers to comment on a supreme court case. i get that within an hour of the opinion coming down. that is a tremendous change.
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the momentumall and intensity of the coverage and the broader universe of people interested in telling the story. >> you talked about the coverage of the supreme court through social media. do you think the justices themselves pay attention to social media chatter? does that affect them in any way or are they oblivious? >> yes, they do. the chief justice wrote a tribute to the outgoing clerk on scotus blog when he left this summer. either because they tell us or other people tell us, they read some of these same blogs. breyer's justice tweeting experience is vastly exaggerated, from what i understand. >> i think he only said he read
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them. he did not affirmatively tweet. [laughter] >> that's right. who would be the most likely justice to regularly tweet. probably beould sonia soto mayor. not for a long time. the justices have a way of doing things. they are very reluctant to change. they are a very transparent form of government. they say that we have to explain what we do. members of congress vote and go home and conduct the town hall meetings but we have to explain in a written come a long explanation of why we voted the way we did. our oral arguments are in public and people file their brief so they think they are very open. braniac f them has for 25-year-old clerks.
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they bring stuff to the attention of their bosses. in terms of whether it affects them, conceivably, it might at the margin but the court tends to be a couple of decades behind the technology. recently they decided a major pager case. [laughter] think a justice scalia tweet would be in all caps. [laughter] >> there is one way in the back. can you stand up? how critical is it to have a legal background to cover the supreme court? can you cover it if you don't have a legal background? >> we should ask the lawyer. >> you really cannot. [laughter]
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my instinct is that a good general assignment reporter can get on top of any beat and linda greenhouse -- she was not a lawyer but covered the court for 30 years and if what you do for 30 years is read briefs and decisions, you will go into law school 10 times in a row. >> i have watched this over the years and it has always been roughly 1/3 have a law degree. degree buthave a law i once was offered the chance to teach a media law course and i was -- at a journalism school. lawyer but the a person said, you have been covering the court long enough, you have probably covered half the cases that you would be
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teaching about which made me feel very old. [laughter] it did not make me feel more confident to take on the course. >> it seems like the court today it seems like the court today reflects society at large, but over the years, there have been a number of examples of the justices who evolved into something philosophically that was not expected, but that seems to be happening less today. i am curious your thoughts about that. is that because we are vetting them more on the basis of specific issues, as opposed to philosophy? is that a good thing? that we have a better idea of how they will vote once they get on the court. have alutely, presidents
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better idea of how they will vote. much work goes into this before someone is nominated. at the four new justices on the court, no pair usually both more alike than roberts and alito, except in sotomayor., kagan and the last two presidents have gotten exactly what they were living for in the justices they nominated. there are other reasons for that. t is easier to vet a judge, faster to read all of their decisions, know everything about them. the days of taking a guess on somebody are over. i think that presidents have cracked the code across two
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dimensions, looking at their sitting opinions, and then looking at someone with executive branch experience in the sea so that their friends and colleagues will know therm. many were outside the beltway creatures who could not be relied upon. to an extent, president ford said that he just wanted a good lawyer. there was a time when politics was not the only determinant. i believe it was david wised up enure that presidents to this. people thought he was conservative, president bush thought that he was, but then he turned out not to be. no more souters.
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now they want to make sure they know the pedigree before they nominate somebody so that they will not change. of course, clarence thomas evolving, and so far he has not. [laughter] >> we are very interested in media law, where the court may go with this, including with these technologies we are talking about. i know that i have a worry, down the road, there may be bad laws made by justices who are not as comfortable with technology. do any of you share these concerns or see any issues arising from this? they have concerns. i did a column last week that
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point out its chief justice, and the biggest worry for him are the technology issues, that they do not understand very well, and know they have to deal with. cell phone capability, easier ways to track people without around. cop follow them i think those issues will consume the court for a while. the justices are very smart people but they do not seem terribly comfortable with these subjects sometimes in oral arguments. youwill hear things that are surprised to hear coming from some of them. i certainly do not consider myself a technology expert. the chief justice joked that he had his 11 and 12-year-old held him program the parental controls on his television and is sure that they did what he told them.
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>> especially in the fourth amendment context, search and seizure -- and this will become to the court, i hope. that is all we hoped for, interesting cases. can the police search through your cell phone when they search you? is it like looking in your pockets? can the police all your movements by using a gps device or tracking you through your cell phone? that will be hard. but if you look at the first amendment side of things, the supreme court has not had a lot of trouble applying that to the internet. there were iterations of the internet decency act, but the court has never gone for it, they have always been first amendment-aware. >> 30 years ago, and if he wanted to spin reaction to a
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decision, because your corporation was involved, for example, you would go up there and whisper in their ear, i think this is the right interpretation. on still,, this goes but there are more places for influence to come in. do you see a change in the kind of ecology of spin? is it justted, or slightly different ways of doing it, but the outcome is the same? >> the people who are doing it have not changed much, but the places they can go are much more various. case -- is bringing a we would have heard from them 30 years ago -- but you can hear from them on their own website on various webcasts, youtube things, and all sorts of stuff.
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my sense is a number of voices have not changed, the people who care about a big supreme court case -- one measure of that, by of way, is the number friend-of-the-court briefs filed. you who have covered the court longer than i have, we had a huge number this year about whether you could patent genes. we had a huge number in the obamacare case, but we have had cases in the past where there have been a lot. >> my sense is, as people start to consume media in and eco chamber way, where they consume news within their own affiliation, that is likely to prevent court actions in political terms. i think that accounts for the approvalip in
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ratings. i do not think it is supreme court specific, but i do think those moments in time when the person who casually follows the court here and there might be politics involved, which is to say, the health-care decision was a big instance of that. confirmation hearings is a big instance of that. citizens united, some of the ethics criticisms of some of the justices. all of that, spun through a resultsn lines -- lens, in the court's for ratings. -- poor ratings. often ask about something because it is trending. either i see something that is completely wrong, or something terribly taken out of context. from the liberal side and from
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the conservative side. but that information goes out there, and it becomes a real thing. you wonder sometimes come and do you step in to correct it, do you let it run its tide and not contribute to it? those are sometimes tough decisions for those of us in the media. >> there was a lot of talk that haves or kagan should recused themselves from the health care case. many believe that was not a well-founded complaint. i may not have written about it, maybe in passing, but if it is there, maybe it is the press' job to the valley with those claims. >> hi wrote about it, wrote about both justices, but i thought it raised bigger issues about recusal policies, which is something that i have been
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writing about for many years. i thought it was a vehicle to talk about when and why justices should recuse. ultimately, i did not think there was much chance or real reason for them to reduce. i wrote about it anyway. >> i did not write about it as much. we did not do as many stories on the air or on the web. my perception of it was, it was liberals say clarence thomas should recuse because of his wife, how could you trust him, conservatives saying that elena kagan should recuse. it seems to me, very political. i heard very little neutral -- hey, this is not good government. >> if you remember, the chief justice addressed it.
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he does the year-end -- one of the perks of being a supreme court reporter is the chief justice releases his report on new year's eve, in the afternoon. so that you can write about it for the next day. but he discussed it without going into any detail about it, basically defended the justices as being able to make their .ecisions and not be influenced >> talking about the health care case, there was a famous flub where people reported it wrong. in the days following, there were reports that you do not often see about who wrote the opinion when, who flipped, was the dissent really a majority? then there was reporting of the where the information comes from. upset with wife
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roberts for leaking that into the press? that seemed to be a different supreme court coverage than what usually happens. with did not do much abou because it does not really matter. the opinion looks like it was written during a taxi ride from union square. it does not flow, it is not well organized. so " it invites all that stuff. mauro, why god made tony to write stories like that. --jane crawford wrote about was a recipient of the leak about the story of the justices being angry at roberts.
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because she is a very good and credible reporter, we all pay attention. some unknownst blogger, it would not have gotten much attention, but it was worthwhile -- writing about. it is interesting, the behind- the-scenes maneuvering on a decision, even though it does not matter in the actual outcome. . >> i will say one thing. the overall tone of the coverage about whether the chief justice changed his vote -- the implication was that was just wrong. that was a part of the store that i thought was -- the fact is, justices changed their mind quite often.
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perhaps not in a spectacular way, but what matters is what they say when the decision comes up. too,will add on to that, the criticism of roberts from the right was striking. as far as calling it a betrayal by some people. at these hearings in which they are nominated, they are basically be over the head over and over again, will you be fair, neutral? and then as soon as someone is surprising, it is, wait, this is not what the past four. i thought that was an unusual and interesting aspect. >> of course, the criticism would have come whether he voted to uphold or not. of maybees us a sense what the chief justice is like and what is important to him.
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this could have been a case where he furthered his ideological viewpoint, but instead, he did not seem to do quite that. was it because of institutional concerns? we do not know. maybe it indicates how he thinks, and in that sense, is important. >> you want to draw a distinction about whether the votes were switched or not. if i had been able to report on it, i would have. it is a valuable piece of information, but it is not important on the face of what we know about john roberts. in this instance, he seemed to go against what we thought we knew about his ideology in order to further what may be a larger interest in the prestige and authority of the court over time. he was 57 at the time, and i do not think he wanted his legacy to be five republican appointees over the dissent of democratic
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appointees, striking down when a trade -- legislative achievement in an election year. >> this is for robert and maybe it adam. you brought up same-sex marriage. and perryup windsor cases in march, this is something that you need to watch out for. i told them that the decision would be coming in june. a lot of them were looking for it. i am curious as to how the media reacted that week. pins, andeedles and some other professors in my department, too.
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when it happened, how many people in your organization reported, and what did they do with social media? the days go on, you never know what you will get. last week was an extraordinary news or the week -- newsworthy week. huge in every decision that last week, practically. with doma, prop 8, we knew it was coming down that day. that does help you to get things lined up, posted immediately. we had people all over. you how manyell
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people, but certainly a lot. it was another one of those days where it was one thing after another. file a story, due in interview, go online to do a video to explain the decision. it was a pretty hectic week. >> it was also a day that exposed the fault line, between these two and us two and maybe now. bob and i were in the courtroom when the decision was announced as all hell broke loose on the plaza and our editors were saying, i wish i could talk to my scotus report. and then there was the announcement of the doma case, which turned out to be a landmark case. and then there is this nothing case about government
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corruption. his dissent,red justice scalia says, i have another one. prop. 8 you have the case which was confusing. and then almost an hour into it, we go downstairs and tried to insert ourselves into the flow of this thing. >> for those of you that do not understand the mac and nations here, as the justices -- malkin nations here, as the justices began to form their opinion, if there are four decisions coming on tuesday, you do not get all four at once. you get them as they are announced. >> and they come in reverse seniority of the justice who wrote it. case we get the doma
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first. it had the hit in answer to how the prop. 8 case would be decided in it. in the case it said, i do not know why we took this case, but we will not take the prop. 8 case. before they handed out the proposition 8 decision, we knew how that would be decided as well. a i have a question that is bit tangential, but i will try to tie it into social media. the boston bombings. pete williams, a journalist rock star, i believe you were trending on twitter that day. ofs goes to the speed telling a story. if you're used to covering the supreme court, which is slow, you know the decisions are bombingsomething like a
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was clueere everyone on to the television, the erroneous reporting, have the stick to your sources? what was that they like for you? from a teaching perspective, as lives in journalism, how would you describe that day? was thereporting hallmark of that story from the beginning. i must say, social media is a part of this. this is the ugly side of social media. people were treated like crazy that people had shutdown cell phones in boston because they thought people would set off more bombs. it was not true. they were just overloaded. that is just an example. that was right after it happened, incorrect information. be battle-ve to
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ready and be skeptical about everything that you heard. i will say two things about the rumors that somebody had been arrested. you cannot report would you do not know. and thet your sources problem with these stories is, as my colleagues know, you do the same thing every day, call beat theources, information out of them, and then call again and start over. no one that i talked to thought that there had been an arrest. the other thing, i was lucky to be the front man for an effective team at nbc news, some competent and careful people. to take it is hard credit for accurately reported that nothing happened. [laughter] i go back to cameras in
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the courtroom, in the supreme court? i think we are coming to the end of our time, so maybe it is a good way to end. in the 1980's, the conventional wisdom was that rehnquist would never agree to courts in the room unless all justices agreed. there was speculation that once court-martial step down from the cameras would be allowed. that did not happen. we had demonstrations to show how it unobtrusive they were. that did not make a difference. some justices have said that they were receptive to cameras, but when they have the reauthorization hearings, they change their minds. what is the situation now? are they ever going to embrace this notion of cameras in the court room? say it is like to inevitable sunday, before media
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and television become so outdated it is irrelevant. i am not sure i see a clear path for that other than possibly congress telling them to. they are so stubborn about it, as you say, the media strategy -- and it is not really a strategy -- is to wait for younger justices coming on who were not afraid of cameras. young justices would come on and they would be afraid of cameras. it is something about the aura of the court that descends on justices. it is not a matter of the sitting justices telling kagan sotomayor, cameras are terrible, do not take a step in that direction. there is this feeling that some
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have talked about. in the court, you are on the court, you feel like, holy moly, i am on the supreme court. i do not want to mess it up. they have this fear, as stewards of the supreme court, they do not want to make a change like that because they think it will spoil the magic, the mystique of the court. of course, i always argue, whenever the court is more visible, in the spotlight, it usually ends up looking pretty good. i do not know why -- it is like familiarity of the court.
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i do not know how the case will congresst, except for taking it up and requiring it by law, i do not see how it will happen. has gotten less likely in recent years. there is no principled reason to exclude the american public from seeing the government at work. it is ridiculous. on the other hand, if i were on the court, i would be happy with the way that things are, particularly with the rise of stewart and colbert and the like. it is not always the case that they win. in the oral arguments, it is really interesting, but it is also possible to take the occasional movie thing that some
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of them are capable of saving and putting it out in a way that would subject them to authentic mockery. i think they know that and that terrifies them. there was a republican attack at after the health care arguments focused on the solicitor general's argument. they did not like that at all and they drew a lesson from that. to think that the reason justices did not want television coverage was because they did not want to be hassled in public, they did not want to be recognizable. when chief justice rehnquist was there, he would love to talk about stories about how he would walk around during his exercise routine and people would ask him to take their picture, not knowing that he was the chief justice.
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"the daily watch not, and heve it or worries about snippets. i tell him, that is all we have in the stories as well. they do not reproduce the entire argument but they see there is a clear, different impact, the chance that they could be made fun of, or the institution. >> are there any other questions? >> i am just here to stir the pot. journalism professors like to talk about the ultimate function of journalism, to aid in democracy, to help people govern themselves.
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you hope therters, american people will understand the democratic process and the court system, a judicial system. can you please ghraib your code panelists on how -- grade your co-panelists on how well they are doing that? [laughter] >> they are doing very well. [laughter] you to the panelists. after all this, i hope that you would disagree with the justice alito, who when told about the canadian justice's report about locking up reporters before a decision is made, he said, that sounded like a great idea until i heard that they let them out. [laughter] all.hank you very much to [applause]
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general holdery eric holder will discuss prison sentencing guidelines. reports are that he will press for changes in the minimum mandatory sentencing guidelines related to certain drug offenses. we will have that for you at 1:00 eastern. later today, a town hall meeting with virginia congressman bobby scott. the focus will be on the of for all care act, otherwise known as obamacare. hong c-span2, live coverage of the national press club event looking at the role of government public affairs offices and whether they help or hinder transparency efforts.
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>> all of the handsome young officers surrounding my grandmother, 23 at the time -- my grandfather had been tried to talk to her but could not because of the other male officers. upstairsrushed to go to do whatever they were trained to do, and left her there standing. she knew that my father was up there. when she heard that, my grandfather -- my grandmother fainted, right into the hands of the president. >> the encore presentation of our first lady's series. looking at the public and private lives of our nation's first ladies. all this month at 9:00 eastern on c-span.
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in tonight's program, join in on the conversation with colonial williamsburg historian taylor stoermer. that a is the first time true digital native has stepped into one of the legacy businesses, broadcasting companies. if he axed in any way, as he did in disrupting the book publishing business, the delivery of streaming media, certainly he-commerce, then mr. disruptll probably andean vision when it will be led to be a newspaper in the 21st century, and what it means to be a business. journalism is changing, manifesting itself in different ways. the intersection between video and newspapers these days. it is hard to say where it is headed. we had a stage where it is being
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figured out. thatbezos buying the post, is one example of the possibility of the future of newspapers. of newspapers on "the communicators" tonight at 8:00. of how toiscussion balance the national security concerns with civil liberties. speakers included congressman peter king, the chairman of the homeland security committee on counterterrorism and intelligence. this event is co-host and by the manhattan institute, the weekly standard, and the group concerned veterans for america. coming. you all for i am normally not intimidated at these events, but now that i
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realized who is here, now i am very worried. have all of you. i also want to thank you for your service, how pleased i am that peter king and john stossel have agreed to be here, judy miller and john bernstein as well. in afghanistan, i was visiting with a couple of people in 2011. to trainvolunteered the afghan army. i remember him telling me at the time one of the key principles was to keep it simple. that is a key military principle. pete organized this event in the opposite way. two speakers, four panelists, john and i are co-moderators.
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luckily, the quality of the people overwhelm the complexity. we will have peter king speak for 10 minutes, john stossel speak for 10 minutes, and then we will have a panel. judy and gary will kick off, and a discussionhave it ihave of security. these are people who have thought seriously about this. i will give a brief introduction of pete king and john stossel and then get off the stage. peter king is a veteran congressman from long island, before that comptroller of nassau county. washington for a quarter-century, embarrassed to i went there to see what
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it was like, and i got sucked in. pete is one of the most energetic and on entrepreneurial members of the house. he has been a leader on a number of different issues, on particular, homeland and intelligence committees for calling attention to the threats we face and also making sure we do the right thing to deal with them. he has been willing to criticize administrations of both parties when he feel they do not do the right thing, and supportive when they do the right thing. i am a fan of peter king and am pleased that he took time to come in from the island, the opposite direction that everyone is going in august. john stossel, a friend, star of the fox business network. , in case youn show
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did not know. john did not want to call and that. insisted on "stossel." i think that is probably true. various stories, investigated some of the problems in government, big business. he has been very thoughtful on these liberty versus security issues. some of that comes from the liberty site, you could say, of the conservative movement. he has been concerned about how we handle national security as well as making sure that we preserve our fundamental liberties. peter king and then john stossel. then we will come back and have a discussion.
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king. [applause] thank you for being here today. i look forward to working with the panelists. of course, i get my marching orders from bill every week when i open up "the weekly standard." friend of me and my family. all the veterans who have done so much for our country, thank you. the issue of liberty versus security, you have to look it against the backdrop of what has happened since september 11. the current threat that we see now from the middle east is a reminder of how real and constant the threat is. only going into the fourth aspect of it, we have a
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president who spent the last campaign and recently gave a speech where he basically said al qaeda was decimated, implied the war against islamic terrorism had been one, and can retreat to a pre-9/11 mindset. al qaeda had been decimated. first, it was intellectually wrong for him to say that. it was wrong for him to say that in the campaign. but the implications of that are, if you tell the american people that the war is almost over, if al qaeda is on its last legs, it makes it hard to defend a few weeks later why the nsa programs have expanded. when you want allies on our side saying it is important that they are by our size, and then you have the president saying that
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the war on terror is over. apart from whatever isolationist streak i have in congress, blaming america first crowd, one of the main reasons we have a hard time maintaining support for programs like the nsa is because the president has undercut us, and mainly in a schizophrenic way. he should be out there on national tv, instead of talking about phony scandals, talk about the phony speeches he has made about is monetarism and tell us why the nsa program is so important. we are up against a situation where the people who are considered republicans, conservatives, are depending the programs of a left-of-center president who refuses to defend the program itself. but the country comes first. basisa will use that as a for the program being so
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essential. privacy versus security. we face an enemy which is overseas and here in our own country. it is an enemy which is willing to carry out attacks in our own country. during the cold war, the soviets would not do that. of course, since the enemy is it asymmetric, it is not easy for us to respond, blow up a country if we are attacked in times
square. not infringe on civil liberties. on surveillance, no american is having his phone calls or e- mails looked at by the nsa. what they do is collect metadata. 2 phone number of calls made, time and date. all that information is stored. let's put that in the context of what is happening today.
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people say that you have seen the intelligence -- if you knew what i knew -- basically everyone who has analyzed this -- i think this is the most precise threat we have seen, if not since september 11, then from 2006, when there was that liquid explosion plot to blow up 10 airliners over the atlantic ocean. specific as tory the enormity of the attack, and the catastrophic nature of the attack they want to carry out. also a series of dates in there. as far as the credibility of the sources, quality of intelligence, it is there more than any i have seen in the last 10 years. this is not connecting the dots. are looking to see if it is in the middle east -- that is
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why the embassy was closed down. but it could also be worldwide. they are talking about an attack of this magnitude, and would change the direction of the world to blow up an embassy in the middle east? it is very essential to find out where the attacks would be carried out. this is hypothetical but not really. let us assume we have phone numbers coming from the middle east. who theto find out phone number has contacted in the u.s. that is when the metadata would be used by the nsa. it would take that number and drill in down into the millions of phone numbers they have stored. these numbers are and what they call a lock box. if there is any member in the
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u.s. that has been contacted by that number overseas, then they can go to that number, and then they can go to the phone numbers at that number had been in contact with to see what the background is, to see if there is any other evidence involving those phone numbers, individuals involved. that is the only time the nsa is allowed to drill down into those numbers, when there is reasonable suspicion that it is connected to an overseas plot. that is what happened in 2009. from that, hopefully, they can see as one part of the schematic of combating terror, who could be involved in this plot that we know is coming from overseas. that is the sum and substance of the program. i think it is wrong when we have people conserve route -- on the supposedly conservative side of the fence, that the government
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is spying, that they know everywhere i go, and they contributed to the nsa. the nsa is not the irs, let's be clear. nsa is probably than anye surveillance other operation in our country today. it is watched on a regular basis by the fisa court. i do not think we need a fisa court. i think the president has the inherent power as commander in chief to carry out these operations. that is what president bush claimed in the 2000's. but i think the reality is we will have a fisa court and will have to work with it. it is monitored on a regular basis. instance, when they are tracking, only three times were they had to drill down on the metadata.
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if they make a mistake and they put in the wrong digit, they have to do a full report on that. they have to purge everything they got from the wrong number. they have to file a report with the court explaining that human error that was made. that is the type of scrutiny they are under. my experience with the nsa was, what we heard mainly over the last several years, before any the nsa hade, information about people attacking dick cheney and others, waterboarding. the only time it came up as a debate in the intelligence committee was people from the nsa saying how tough it was to work with the fisa court, to get court orders, to follow up on the information we were getting.
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stamp, it isrubber- highly scrutinized. i realize the american people will say, do not worry, congress is looking out for you, that is not the greatest overconfidence. theeve me, people on intelligence committee take it seriously. mike rogers is extremely conscientious about that. this stuff is looked at very carefully. i do not see any significant violation of civil liberties, no significant -- like in 2009, it like one of those forest gump moments and you become a witness to history. i was the mayor bloomberg's
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home when he was entertaining the lord mayor of london. rupert murdoch was there, other powerful people, even tina brown like one of, to show you l it was. ray kelly was there as well. we began talking out on the street. azi s not aware of the az attack. it was the only time that ray kelly had shown real concerns. we knew that he was coming from colorado, we knew he was involved. this would have killed hundreds, if not thousands of people come on the new york subway system. that was stopped coming to a significant extent, because of the word at the end as a did. do the work alone? no, but they are part of the overall mosaic. if it had not been for the nsa, we would not have known everyone involved in the plot.
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we could have had thousands killed in the subway the next day. wheneverbalance out violation of privacy there was, i do not see it. tracing and overseas 2 phone number is on record here in the tracing and overseas 2 phone numbers that are here on record in the u.s. is nothing. i know that john stossel can give his side in a more charismatic way. [unintelligible] realy event, we have a enemy that wants to strike. this is not the old al qaeda of 2000 focused along the afghanistan-pakistan border.
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whether it is different parts of a al qaeda working around the world, this is an enemy that is there and want to destroy us, and we need to use every weapon in our disposal. changese we can have and nuances, but the underlying premise is that we are under siege, and if we let our guard down for any moment, we could be destroyed. thank you. [applause] actually, you were pretty entertaining. that is one of the best descriptions i have heard about what the end as a does. i am a libertarian. -- nsa does. libertarians have been very skeptical. you say that no one is listening. why would i believe my government? you say there is no significant violation of civil liberty.
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actually, i look for them for my show, and i'm in trouble with libertarians because i kind of agree with you. i cannot find them. libertarians talk about the dangerous step 3 slope, the masses of the data, but i cannot get that worked out. i already assume that media matters is listening to my phone calls. legallys at fox can listen to my phone calls and read my e-mail. i give my permission to facebook and google. it is out there. even if the abuse was happening, why would that be such a terrible threat, when lives are at stake? i am being called a lino, libertarian in name only. you are a traitor to the
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libertarian ideals. could not even finish your article on the nsa. i am sorry, i am not a good antagonized for the speakers this morning. i do not even know what time of day it is. do consider myself an expert on safety and relative risk. to say,have got something is off to me. i know i am in the minority opinion here. the congressmen talked about the real and constant threat. i did a show years ago based on my experience as a consumer reporter called scaring ourselves to death. the homeland security state is schering america to death, and there is a real and constant threat, but how big is it? the department of homeland security was probably invented after 9/11 to oversee 22 existing agencies, more than
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doubled spending. are they more efficient? i doubt it. talked earlier about reforming the bloated bureaucracy. that is like teaching a cat to bark. it cannot be done. the pentagon has a 26-page brownie recipe, as an example. as a consumer reporter, my specialty was relative risk. what brought this home to me was, 20 years ago, when a producer came in with a story from trial lawyers -- we have to do a story on bic lighters. exploding and spontaneously setting people on fire. four instances in the past few years, many more were horribly burned. taking stories
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from trial lawyers. i had a good example of what was affecting people in america, so i said, let's do plastic bags first. or bathtubs. a big country. if we scare people about the ants, they will not pay attention when the elephants come. they got someone else to do the story. when i now look at the 9/11 threat, war is the friend of the state, crisis is the friend of the state. we had a credit crunch, people in power said that we would have economic collapse if we did not bail out the banks, if we did not let a few men spend a trillion dollars of your money. crisis grows the state. that is an enemy of freedom. 3000 people died on september 11 -- more than that. it has been 12 years.
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let's assume it happens every 10 years. that would be horrible in america. but we live with risk. 35,000 deaths on the highway. 100 deaths today, all are. 3000 americans die in house fate -- house fires. a smoke detector is a wonderful thing. that is a place to spend the money. a thousand americans drowned. the media warns you about sharks, you ought to worry about drowning. 100 americans are killed a year hunting deer. where does terrorism fit into this? almost nothing has happened in 12 years. it may happen, i do not presume to know. the rest of the panel is more informed about this than i. over my career, i have looked at scare after a scare that have limited freedom, certainly economic freedom. massive amounts of money are
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soft for of the battle against lawn chemicals. cell phone radiation causing brain tumors. we forget these things it week later. the terrorism scarce stay with us. food additives, pesticides. we banned ddt, which killed millions of people around the world. lie what silent spring claimed about it. now we are told plastic bottles are killing children. global warming is the biggest threat to america, says the left, bigger than terrorism, bigger than the country going bankrupt. kids are not allowed to play alone anymore because the media kidnapping.f plane crashes. that has to be hyped by the media.
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if a plane does not crash, you should say, that is the amazing miracle. thousands of planes take off and land next to each other and do not crash, but when it crashes, we go crazy and we say, we are here at the scene but we do not know anything, but we will continue to tell you what we do not know. they would try to get me to do stories on the 10 least save airlines. i would refuse because that is statistical murder. when we do that reporting, more people would try to grandma's house, and that would kill people. relative risk ought to be paid attention to. i think we have lost that in the homeland security state. one example is the tsa. before they were created, we had these private contractors who would pay people minimum wage, letting people onto airplanes. they obeid the government rules. small mines were legal under the faa rules.
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congress said it was not good enough, we need something from government. tom daschle said you cannot professionalize if you do not federalize. it made sense to me at the time. we were scared. when you are scared, it is hard to make good judgment. now 12 years later, we have the tsa. how is that working out for us? we have all have problems but we could say is necessary to go through for safety. we volunteered to fly, we should expect some discomfort. except, the law did allow some cities to opt out. san francisco was the only big city to do that. recently i sent a reporter to san francisco to talk to people. they would say, it was weird, friendlier,s were
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and it was faster. people would try to test them as well, and they caught them in 75% of cases. in los angeles, 25% of cases. so the private screeners are friendlier, faster, and better at their jobs. why is that? private.t is the way it is done in israel. you can fire the contractor, you cannot fire the government. the contractor knows that if he does a good job, he could get hired by other airports. so they do things like they give workers a day off and they have contests. who can repackage luggage the fastest? they play music, they give awards. they are better. other airports here about this. there was one airport near glacier park in montana, where
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the tsa is involved, and people do not want to go there in the winter, they want to go there in the summer. but government being government, the tsa maintains staffing levels all year round. in summer, there are long waits. if you ask the department of homeland security, you can opt out. as, homelandorts security sits on these for over a year and then finally says, no, we do not think this is advantageous to the federal government. wouldn't erg are keen like to say that to mcdonald's? my point is, dashwood and a burger king like to to mcdonald's? the growth of the homeland security state is a great threat to our economic future and the freedom.
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terrorism may be a threat, but it is one of many and we should keep it in perspective. thank you. [applause] wait, i am supposed to introduce the next speakers. --h a narcissist that i just then we should all sit up here. judith miller is one of the speakers. here at thelow manhattan institute and writes about the balance between security and civil liberties. she won a pulitzer prize for her reporting at the "new york times" on terrorism. harry bernsen is an air force career, ledong cia several counterterrorism and deployments including our response the east africa bombing and 911. then he was commander of all cia
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forces in eastern afghanistan. >> let's hear from gary and judy first. then have a discussion. >> thank you very much for coming here this morning. the organizers for organizing this very timely and important conference on a crucial subject of interest to everyone in this room. i also want to thank all of you who have served or are serving for your service. we cannot do that too often.
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from long island, from the tip of long island this morning. there is no spying on americans. we do not have a domestic spying program. i am quoting the president of spoke tod states as he a usually reliable source of information and where many americans get their news. i am speaking of jay leno. [laughter] because actually see it i was in bed, but i read the transcript. those were the two assurances he gave us about the national security agency. president,sorry, mr. and with all due respect to someone i greatly room -- greatly admire and do trust,
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am in the, i skeptical camp. i remain skeptical because the president said a number of other things in this interview, which i encourage you all to read. he said, first of all, that the reason we need this program as it is, in its current form, is bombing,er the boston law enforcement needed to be able to see who the two tsarnaev brothers were talking to. whether or not they had been speaking to anyone here in new york, for example. they wanted to get to those numbers quickly. thea reference to after boston bombing, my supposition is that if the tsarnaev brothers had been living in new york, there never would have been a bombing, because they would have been watched. someone who had gone to russia
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who had a report from the russians that he was being radicalized and, in fact, was a radical, would have had more than an fbi interview or two to satisfy the curiosity of the nypd. dealing with something and rounding up other people on cell phone numbers and e-mails after an event is not good counterterrorism work. i was also skeptical because he said he was talking to congress about changes in the fisa and in the fisa oversight system, he did not actually say he was willing to consider any or endorse any. and that can change, and again, i will disagree with my friend -- i think change is long overdue. there is no reason why the head of the supreme court should be appointing every justice on the fisa court. a core that can never turn down
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a request for information by the government -- a court that can never turn down a request from the government. they have sent a couple back for amendments, for changes, but basically it is a rubber stamp. there is no reason why people on the intelligence committee, house and senate, cannot get summaries of the cases and why we cannot know more about the kinds of cases being brought to that court. i am skeptical because i know that with the best of intentions government gradually accumulates power. andwhile i might trust king even president obama to respect the balance between civil liberties and national security, i am not sure i will be able to trust at the next president. that is why we have a constitution and a bill of rights. i am speaking here today as who considers herself a kind of national security hawk. i endorse the patriot act. i thought we needed it.
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i think we still need to do more to protect american citizens. i do not think guantánamo should be closed, because i want to be the mantake men like that was just indicted a year later for benghazi, i want to be able to take him somewhere that is not in the united states where i know he can be safeguarded for trial. the terrible thing about this indictment is that we do not have him. now that we have indicted him, we are not likely to get him unless he has an unfortunate traffic accident in libya, which could happen. but these are the problems and the way in which the president has approached national security. it is, as steve king says, schizophrenic. i knoweptical because firsthand the enormous power of the government when it turns and focuses on an individual.
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i am not speaking to us having to go to jail to protect a source. i am speaking of the search and the subpoena and the ultimate delivery of my telephone records, home, office, cell, shortly after i got out of jail in connection with another case of the government was investigating. and know what it feels like to have everything looked at, and i do not think that posed any kind of threat to national security. so finally, i want to be assured that the reuters story that said the drug enforcement agency, which had requested and had gotten access to the nsa records , is not actually spying on me. i want to be sure that the "new york times" story is not correct when this is half a dozen other agencies have requested access to the national security metadata to pursue various crimes. i want to be sure that even if the nsa is not spying on me,
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another branch of government may be without sufficient oversight. that is why i think the time has come for a look congressionally and in the public at this balance between what we do to stay safe and what we are doing to protect our civil liberties. and i welcome this debate and i am delighted and honored to be here with such esteemed panelists. thank you. [applause] >> thanks, judy, for those remarks. gary? >> 15 years ago today was the attacks in east africa where our embassies were attacked. a lot has happened in the last 15 years. on that morning of august 7, 1998, no one doubt that bin laden was a threat. actually, the bin laden unit had been ordered to be shut down a week earlier.
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there was a valiant fight within the agency to keep that operation going. no one had seen anything, nothing had occurred. they totally overplayed it. the bombings went off. i traveled out to east africa and the subcontinent. we captured the individuals investigating bin laden's people and got more light. in got help in afghanistan 2001 during the invasion. there is the collection of metadata, and i am not a supporter of the collection of metadata in the way they are doing it right now. i would say that there are opportunities for use and there are units involved, and there will be abuses. i think that as you look at the bill of rights and the fourth amendment, it is very easy to think, well, they are violating the constitution. but these few look at the law which is maryland versus smith, 1979, a case that stated that it
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should be no expectation of privacy if there is a collection registry, essentially the numbers from the phone company. yet the constitution and then a law. i would feel much more thosetable and i think who have a libertarian streak would be more comfortable if we just had the phone companies hold the data for five years. the government pays double bed data. then we want going to the data, a fisa judge has to let s and. one person. i do not think we should lose the data. i agree with peter king completely. we have to have that data. but how cumbersome and while the process be? it needs to be quickly. we need a balance, and i think that is the point i just stated. i think ray know what we're looking at, the united states is looking at, are two factors. right now you really do have the al qaeda 2.0 coming at us.
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many of these organizations that are being led, these al qaeda affiliates, are led by gitmo detainees. people we had and people we released. we had two administrations, republican and a democrat, who are releasing people. shame on them. shame on them for letting these people go. both of them. [applause] those are international organizations. they operate along the northwest frontier province. they are attacking our sons and daughters who are fighting. so al qaeda is a problem. it will be a continued problem. this is a decade-long problem. it is something we have to be prepared for. we have a balance of liberty and security. the other thing we need to be mindful of right now which no one is speaking about about is the resurgence of hezbollah. hezbollah, party of god in lebanon, attacking us in the 1980's and took many hostages. after 9/11, they stepped back he
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could face up the ferocity with which the united states went after the taliban and then went after iraq. it took four to five years for them to get their bearings. during that process, hezbollah shifted from giving terrorist operations to creating maybe one of the largest criminal enterprises enterprises on the planet. they were seating between $2 million and $4 million a year from the government. they increase their opacity. -- they increased their capacity. many terrorist attacks fail because they lost their infrastructure. of someone killed in syria about three years back. hezbollah is back in the game. they are larger. who criticize the clinton administration in the 1990's for being law enforcement center, we will have to use the law
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enforcement model again for haslam bola -- four has bola. zbollah.e we will be entering into a new phase in this struggle, and it will be two phases. we will be struggling against hezbollah and al qaeda simultaneously. and we will be doing this in an environment where there are less resources. economic securities, very, very important. if we cannot get our autonomy notnize properly, we will have the forces we need to defend the united states. we have a lot of challenges. i think there are some compromises we can find to get ourselves through some of these issues that we are having right now. alternately in the end, i think we can put ourselves in a good position to defend ourselves. inc. you. [applause] -- thank you.
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[applause] i will talk about a point judy made and then we can discuss it. let's get off maybe the legal question and exactly how the fisa court might be reconstituted. i was struck by the point that judy made -- are we depending too much on nsa-type, assuming that that can solve our problems withe we not done enough human intelligence, both here and abroad -- is the problem with nsa not necessarily going to violate our civil liberties, but we are collecting all this metadata and we are actually following things the best we can. .n the balance of things what is your judgment of how , and ising in general
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nsa necessary or are we dependent on it too much? it is necessary but it is only a part of the most say it. the nypd was mentioned. unfortunately that was not being done at the national level. let me talk about the case of the boston marathon. that should not have occurred. but it could not have occurred here in new york. fbi had been told of the older brother had been radicalized. it certainly war and save full investigation. the fbi spoke to the older brother and to his mother, brother, wife, somebody. they never spoke to anyone in the mosque. under the three general guidelines, the fbi is not allowed to question anyone in a mosque. how do you find out about a person radicalized in a mosque unless you go to a mosque? also, the fbi never told the boston police department that they had this information on the
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older brother. yet the boston police had detectives with top-secret clearance. they were under the impression they were being told everything. they were never told that all about the older brother. because of ray kelly, the fbi nypd the lapd -- gives the the information whether they want it or not in new york. there are 70 police officers with that top-secret clearance, not four. the nypd does have sources. they have sources everywhere. greatston police has a commissioner. they would also have sources everywhere. if the fbi had gone to them, they would have found this out. the older brother was thrown out of a mosque in february last year because he had become so radicalized. yet, the fbi never found that out. the boston police department it was significant because they were not given his name. you have to have intelligence underground.
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but political correctness as. realize that islamic terrorist will come to islamic communities. there is a whole list of ethnic groups. we cannot be so politically correct. we cannot interview the swedish grandmother before we interview the islamic grandson. we have to use common sense. the fbi is not allowed to because of the attorney general's guidelines. >> i mean, those of us who want to defend a strong hawkish view on national security, both at home and abroad, how much should we be for affording some of these major institutions? later, is it true you have to have the same number of people in the winter and summer? how much of a problem in your judgment is that? >> i think we do need tsa. i think we should also have the private sector have the competition. the tsa, especially under this
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administration, has not been sufficiently managed. maybe there is always going to be waste and abuse when you have a federal bureaucracy. the fact is, much more can be done to keep it under control and it is not. we have had real problems. there hasairport, been gross negligence there. there is understaffing in several areas. tsa needs much help in management. then there's the question -- you do do have to have something there, but it should be more of a competition between the private and the government. homeland security should not hold back in airports. they find excuses not to do it and it is wrong. we have examples that john gave. again, the media reacts differently. the i was chairman of homeland security committee, we passed legislation last year, the house anyway, to make it
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easier for private airports to use the tsa. daily news accused me of selling out to private security companies, to bringing in the rent-a-cops. not so many people in government want to take that on. status quo. john and i are facing the same thing. >> want to defend the media, john? [laughs] >> no, but i am angry and of the subject. i would like the panel to explain to me, how is it working americanse 5 million uphold security clearance? how do we expect to keep anything secret? secondly, where are the bodies? all these people wanting to murder us and you can make a bom in the -- bomb in the kitchen of your mom and the internet makes it easier every day, why hasn't it happened? why do more people might die in bathtubs? >> on the first question and
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intelligence -- >> what about snowden? is someone might mean who is generally inclined to defend the agency and other related parts -- how can that happen and should people be disciplined? one has no oppression and the press that any bureaucrat will account for letting snowden -- >> [inaudible] they did not complete the process. the problem is the intelligence cia, othernsa, components, have tried to cut costs by hiring contractors because contractors are cheaper than those with long-term careers with retirements and all that goes with that. it is a question of efficiency versus security, and we have lost terribly on this. the loss of and tell with snowden has surely provided to the chinese into the russians, whether he wanted to or not, it
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is probably worse than what ames, hansen, and manning did combined. isthe greatest mistake saying this guy is some young hacker. holy cow. massive losses occurred. they're probably going to need a 500-man task force to review all the intel and figure out what has been lost. what will happen now, our opponents will take that stuff and will categorize it by country. they will try to figure out the sources of the intelligence appeared understand something, there is human intelligence from the agency that gets transmitted over an essay's lines as well. internet just the stuff or the signal intelligence at risk, this is horrific. it occurred because they were trying to go on the cheap. acting securely.
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they were trying to act efficiently, economically. we have to get away from that model. we need to be more like jewelers theless like walmart and counterterrorism business. it is a large problem. to have a downsized not just because of costs but because of security. >> judy, you have covered this a long time. what is your sense, is it worse than it was 15 years ago? have standards go down in terms of clearance? >> [inaudible] i want to deal with the issue that john raised which is numbers, numbers of people who die in bathtubs. terrorism is different. terrorism unnerves the society in a way that someone dying in a bathtub does not. and it is not just a question of
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numbers. i think the reason we are so much safer today, because everything that the bush administration did and the obama administration continued to do while talking about transparency and not doing it, is actually degraded and just decimating al qaeda. [inaudible] that was the group that was really serious about getting a weapon of mass distraction. with 9/11, we tend not to focus on the amtrak attacks -- the anthrax attacks which was less than two ounces of anthrax in letters and showed him the capital, changed the way we get our mail, killed five, infected 17, put 100,000 people on cipro in this country, two ounces. terrorist groups today, like hezbollah, are very interested
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in weapons of mass destruction. we forget that and we're not just talking about the austin bombing, as terrible as that was peered we're talking about groups who may the incapacitated for the moment, but if we take they willf the ball, continue to search for the most effective way to kill the largest number of us. thehen john talks about threat, yes, the threat exists. it is less now because of all the measures we have taken and all of the money we have spent. but if we stop doing that -- my problem is, i think we can do it in a way that preserves civil liberties which we are now in danger of sacrificing in the name of that. we do not have to peered we just have to do the other stuff that we know how to do better. the single greatest direct threat to the united states is biological terrorism. it is insidious and violent. it will present a whole new set of challenges for us. so we would be better off with a
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much greater capability on that. position ourselves to defend ourselves. let me tell you, a lot of people like to complain about the post office. do not close the post office. because if we have a bio problem in the united states, we're going to deliver the medication to all of you with the post office. we do not want you getting this and mass. the post office in the united states may be something that .aves a lot of lives in the end you have to look at it in different terms. >> now i am worried. [laughter] laden was caught on tape saying he wanted to bleed america to the point of an groep see. if 250,000 people take cipro because of some tiny envelopes
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and washington, d.c., this is our own reaction that is self- destructed. -- self-destructive. >> [inaudible] billion. in the overall picture, you're also saying -- where are the bodies? if we had not stopped the new got subway bombing -- we lucky in the michigan one. that was like up to 4000 people there. that havemany others been stopped. i just wish the rest of the country used to the nypd as the model. so much is done as far as cooperation between the government, suppliers, merchants. so if somebody does go to buy a certain type of explosive or certain devices, they call the nypd and they can follow up on it.
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say 3000 bodies is terrible, but that is worldwide. when every year 3000 die in house fires in america. >> if there is a successful dirty bomb attack though, he can neutralize an entire city. one dirty bomb in times square or lower manhattan or downtown chicago or boston, it would cripple the economy besides killing a number of people. it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. know whatwill never would have happened or could have happened if we had not done certain things. that argument is abused sometimes. i guess i am struck by that. in my personal view, i believe we underestimate the degree of safety and security we have achieved, the degree to which we help others in the world. buy a forward leading strong foreign-policy and defense
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policy. what worries me most is that, nation of of maybe some problems here at home in a general sense that we are in retreat and withdrawing. and there is the defense budget. in the drawdown in afghanistan and conditions on the ground. we have red lines in syria that we will not enforce. we're looking at the syria policy, the appropriate defense budget. if you look at them and isolation, it is a little misleading. an ambassador from the middle east, and a visitor for pretty friendly country, wants the u.s. to be strong and wants his own government to survive. i saw that 10 days ago. i have known him over the years. he is a very measured and experienced guy. and saying what is going on? it is not understood. it looks like syria. it looks like all you want to do
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is get out and have shelter in place. and the embassy closures, which the not challenging him of image that gives, closing 22 embassies throughout the region all the way from west africa to bangladesh, i think, and then extending the closure for a week. these are well fortified here and one of the problems in my opinion that they are too well fortified. they're like fortresses. but we're closing those. we, the united states of america, cannot defend them adequately? the image out there is that it does become a self-fulfilling prophecy. people follow the strong horse, not the weak horse. we are a very strong country, but i am worried that we look seke a relatively weak hor and are going in the wrong direction. [applause] policy, we all have different things we would like done. under bush and cheney, everyone was operating in the same
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direction. under president obama, it is schizophrenic. i feel it is disgraceful when he had the investigations of the cia interrogated so much so that for a number of years, every cia interrogator had to go out and buy personal liability insurance to protect themselves from their own government. that is the mindset you put people in peered with all the hypocrisy in the world, during these last few days, and we're feeling this a attack. -- everybody would say it is great. now people are indicted for committing war crimes. overseas, we should have a lot more leeway than we have right now. not having to worry about eric holder looking over their shoulder. >> [inaudible] part of the president's statements to jay leno is when
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he was asked if he was telling americans not to travel this summer. he said,no, all i am saying is you should get in touch with your embassy and exercise caution. excuse me, they just closed the embassies. again, schizophrenia. the reason he goes on leno is that he does not like to take really tough questions from people who will follow up on him. i have a question about the issue i raised in my opening reports. we have these two reports. the nsa is not using the metadata that you believe is essential and john believes is essential. what about these other requests from the dea getting access to that i'm a what about the six other agencies that the "new york times" wrote about? do you think the government knows at this point exactly what is being done with this information and what know when the future? do not knowrter, i
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the answer. i will be honest. my understanding, that information should not be cleared with anyone unless there is a court order involved. for the fbi there is a court order after probable cause. but i did not want to speak out of turn. >> i would like to say something about the embassy closures. when these embassies are closed, they are not completely closed. they're closed to the public. officers are inside there working. we just do not want a thousand people out in the street waiting for a visa when a car bomb pulls up. 200 people died in kenya at that bombing. there were not americans. so you had a responsibility with local government -- should they have closed all these places? holy cow, they over did this. this was for politics. this was for politics. times"in the "new york yesterday that they named the -- i am people
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horrified, and based on a specific and tell and a specific country, the close 20 embassies. overreaction. but when embassies are closed, american citizens can still get and them. the embassy officers are operating, it is just closed to the public. people are coming and going, believe me. theyare not shattered and are not going home afraid. people are still operating. >> [inaudible] department issued a travel alert, not a travel advisory. a blanket travel alert for 31 days, which is really unusual for them to do actually. i think it was a reasonable asked thehat leno president. says, just be prudent. what does that mean? it is ridiculous. one reason the state department
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does not issue travel alerts are often at all, there very few, of course the local governments hated. than they to therequest ambassadors saying that you're our tourism. it is not a little thing for the state department to do. on the one hand, it means they really were worried. at that this was a very serious threat on a magnitude that has not been seen in a decade even. on the other hand him a the idea that this -- on the other hand, there is the idea that people are very worried and this is a serious threat in the president thinks it is appropriate to go leno, lays golf. he is not convening his people together. leno and says you
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should go ahead and travel. it is either a serious threat and the president should take it seriously. or it is business as usual. >> the president went to camp david and play golf. >> right. >> but there were two threats by the state department warnings issued in 2011. the anniversary of the attack and when we killed osama bin laden. > right. there is the 10th anniversary of september 11. and killing osama bin laden. this is pretty unusual, this but embassies>> are closed quietly and have been for the past couple of days quietly. this is just politics what they have done him a to convince the american public that they are on top of things. quite frankly, it is had a painful effect for our allies and not made us look very good worldwide.
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>> we have time for a couple of questions. >> is the microphone working? just elevate my voice. i apologize. that is better, ok. there is an article in national review a few weeks ago by a commentator who had done an economic analysis of these issues, which i thought was interesting. a slightly different perspective. his observation was that the of a life saved is about $20 million. if you compare the cost of our tower -- our counterterrorism establishment, comes up about
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$20 million per american life saved in these efforts. and that the nsa's program, by his calculation, was costing in the range of around $100 million per life saved. his point, apart from the very important issues the panelists raised, was it is important to do a cost benefit. it is important to see what methods of counter terrorism are the most cost-effective and saving lives at less cost to the american taxpayers. i think that is, in part, the point that john and judith were making, that the cost to very important. judith appropriately said -- the question is, what is the panel's reaction to that kind of analysis? is it appropriate to do that kind of analysis and say that nsa is too expensive in the context of other efforts that may be more effective? >> the most cost-effective is human, human intelligence. that is the cheapest. you get a lot of bang for the
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buck. but you need all of this together. you need a mosaic of things. , the statetelligence department, dod. you need it all together. the least expensive is human. >> and we do not know how many lives are saved i the different programs. how many lives are saved by having more nuclear weapons than we needed in the cold war? that is why i think some of the cost benefit -- if you're in government, you have to budget your resources and do some kind of analysis. the tricky thing about terrorism and foreign policy is you do not know what dangers and price and even catastrophes you avert some by sending aimes lot of money. pure economic analysis is n when you aretha doing consumer analysis. stricter like the fbi and drug
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side effects. >> of the epa values human life at $6.9 million and they have no clue either. nsa is more than just terrorism. there are other major powers in other countries in the world. the nsa is essential to our overall defense component as well besides the terrorism court. >> i would like to bring this to a local level. i think judy has written a great deal about the nypd. we are facing an election in mayoralay your old -- candidates on the democratic side have all committed to a particular program. i wonder if they could comment on the impacts of the safety and security of new york city. >> those allegations by the democratic candidates, the "new associated press
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were shameful. the nypd program of international intelligence should be a model for the entire country. it is necessary and needed. if anyone would have told us on september 12, 2001 that the nypd would have stopped all of these attacks over 12 years am of the result would be that the next mayor wants to dismantle the program and put it back, it they would think it is crazy. it is essential, necessary, and ray kelly deserves every possible bit of recognition he can get for what he has done. [applause] >> just a brief note on ray kelly, and that is if the mayoral candidates are to be believed, does not seem likely that he will be asked to stay on. i think everyone of them should be asked specifically whether or not they would keep ray kelly on as mayor -- well, he should have been mayor -- as police commissioner. know, kellyhat, you
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was a candidate for several high-level post in washington. apparently it was his stop and frisk activity and the endorsement of that program and also with the muslim surveillance, a radical muslim surveillance program in new york which has qualified him. i think that says a great deal about the administration's mindset, and it is most unfortunate. >> i address my question to those who favored taking the telephone data records out of the nsa and allowing it to stay at the phone companies. what wade do you give to the fact that we have such a litigious society -- what w eight do you give to the fact that we have such a litigious society? you can go into accord with a left-wing judge who will give a injunction which
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prevents the immediate availability of that information if it were allowed to remain in the phone company hands. sethere is a special court up for that. dealing just with fisa, the fisa court and judge will make the determination. >> you are talking while it is in the possession of the government, the nsa. what i am talking about is you are dealing with -- if the suggestion that judy made and i think somebody else going in, of taking it out of the nsa's possession and allowing it to remain for five years and the phone company's possession. you are taking it out of and putting into the civil courts where the phone company is subject to an injunction. >> general alexander and others in the nsa have discussed this. they have no philosophical problem with the phone company holding onto records. again, their concern is, will
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they have the absolute immediate access that they need? in regards to civil courts and somebody getting an injunction it.hatever, delaying one thing the nsa says is they have to have instantaneous access to the records. kept is a way the academy it with assurance that they would have instantaneous access. i do not know of that can be done. and they are playing for turf here. the just want to have access. >> and to correct the record, i do not endorse that proposal. it was another panelist. i have not made up my mind yet. i will be interested to see what the hearings produce and with various experts say about where the balance should be and what should be changed. right now i am focusing a lot on transparency and the appointment
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of judges as opposed to who keeps the records and we are. thank you. >> one final question. some people in new york work. >> i will try to make this quick. there was a comment made that there are 5 million people and the united states with clearances. i would like to clarify that it is a need to know basis to have access to any classified information. i have held a clearance since 1986. i cannot tell you the last time i saw a top-secret document. it is because i am working in a cleared facility and they must be cleared to work there. do you know if snowden had a full scope polygraph done to work at nsa? to work at nsa itself, you have to go through a lifestyle polygraph to get through there and a counterintelligence polygraph. if he had that, i am surprised. i would think they could detect his malice.
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and judy stated that you felt there are too many contractors with clearances. >> i do not know, he must have secret, but itop- do not know whether or not he had a lifestyle polygraph which is more intrusive. i suspect he did not. >> snowden should never have gotten the clearance in the first place. he went from job to job. in several instances, things were found of about him as he was leaving one job and going to the next. there were deficiencies in the way he was able to get access, which should have been anticipated but were not. hopefully they will be corrected in the future. never should have happened in the first place. as we go forward, what i found encouraging is that all of us
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agree there is an enemy. we all agree we have to stand together. it is important in public life today that we have people from both parties somehow thinking that the nsa's priorities are to spy on americans -- that is wrong. we have to make sure we are protected but not think that nsa is more dangerous than al qaeda. he's very sensitive about the nsa finding out where possible future presidential candidates are. i thinkt know why -- the reason i said we should not be using contractors, as many as we are, i do not think snowden would have gotten a government clearance. my understanding it is one million people who have top- secret clearance, 5 million who have secret. but in general -- look, right now, i just read in the press that some people are
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being polygraphed at the cia issuedmonth now, polygraphs over a leak investigation. seems like the time and money would be better served to have the edward snowden's of the world who work for contractors or for the nsa given that kind of scrutiny, rather than spend it on people who may be talking to the press. it was not government. skepticismexpress that the contractors are the problem. if a million people have access and they are government employees, that means -- >> half of them are not. >> mitt romney says i going to shrink the government. they are afraid to fire anybody. so you have deadwood. cia missed the collapse of the soviet union, the fall of ab spring.ar
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almost none of these people speak arabic. -- do we trust >> [speaks foreign language] [laughter] >> ok. john will disappear shortly after this -- [laughter] >> i just remain skeptical. i would love to have it explained to me how this spying works and how it is really going to keep us safe. think this isly been a very good discussion, an interesting one. it shows that these are difficult questions which need to be thought through seriously liberties,ty, civil effectiveness, trade-offs. the contractor thing was not crazy, the notion of the private sector could do things better. we have sent before that they can. but things have gotten out of control.
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datahe nsa has a lot more than there used to. bradley manning, not even having secret clearance, crazy he was able to get all that stuff. but everybody decided things were to sideload -- siloed before. these are tough choices. we need serious people in congress, the media, and elsewhere to really think through these things. i think this is an interesting discussion and a thoughtful discussion. think thesey try to issues through and not just settle on soundbites. thank you all for coming. not keep it simple, but we did keep it on time. bill and thenk weekly standard for moderating. john, judy for making the bus ride in this morning. thank you.ive king,
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gary bernsen is a great member of our organization. i think it is a good discussion. i think judy asked one of the most important and right questions in this discussion when she said, hey, how do we know this metadata -- we have heard reports that it is more accessible than people think. other agencies are using it. and the answer was i am not sure what the answer is to that. it is not because the representative does not know. if anyone knows, it is him. but in some cases, there is a fear amongst conservatives that sometimes whereas we should be a nation of laws, sometimes when people have the wrong access, people do things with data that they should not otherwise do. and a blanket second trust of our government will do is sometimes difficult to give. however, we all acknowledge and agree and understand we live in a world of incredible threat. if one city knows it and understand it, it is new york city. that is what makes discussions like this so important. in a veterans organization, what
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we hope to do is to come into the discussion with an understanding, a fundamental understanding of that threat, the folks that wish to do was harm, but also believe in the liberty and freedom that we fought for. if you give it away in securing yourself, you left the country you want to fight for in the process. we appreciate this group. we appreciate the weekly standard. most important, the manhattan institute for facilitating this. i know a lot of you are here because of that invitation. we are honored to partner with them and very grateful that you took the time with us today. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> coming up in about eight minutes or so, we will go live to san francisco for marks from attorney general eric holder. he is at the american bar
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association meeting this afternoon to talk about changes to the nation's mandatory minimum prison sentencing bylines for certain drug offenders. live coverage of that speech beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern right here on c-span. changes to those mandatory minimums was the topic of your phone calls on this morning's "washington journal." we will show you as much of this as we can until those remarks from eric holder. begin with the front page of the "washington post." holder tackles prison reform. this is what the attorney general is going to propose, that low level nonviolent drug offenders with no ties to gangs or low skilled drug organizations will no longer be charged with defendant -- offenses that oppose -- impose severe mandatory sentences. also reducing sentences for elderly, nonviolent inmates and
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find alternatives to prison. lawyers have worked for months on the proposals which holder wants to make the cornerstone of the rest of his tenure. they say holder is calling for a change in policies to reserve the most severe penalties for drug offenses for serious among high-level, or violent drug traffickers. he directed his 94 u.s. attorneys across the country to develop specific locally tailored guidelines for determining when federal charges should be filed and when they should not. we want your thoughts on this. what do you think about the attorney general setting this forward? this is his goal. what are your thoughts? front page of "usa today" -- this by kevin johnson, a shift in law enforcement policy that has been sweeping the state in recent years. increasingly, officials are
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knowledge and that they can no longer bear the cost of warehousing nonviolent offenders, mostly for drug crimes who were targets of harsh punishment starting decades ago when crime was surging. yet in states including arkansas, kansas, kentucky, and texas have reduced their prison populations by reforming -- referring more offenders to treatment or prologue -- probation. about 25% of the justice budget goes to fund prison-related operations. robert, maryland, democratic caller. good morning to you. think this is a move althoughght direction, it is continuing baby steps. what we need is basically legalization of some of the so- called class b drugs such as
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marijuana. a lot of these people being incarcerated are basically stigmatized as second-class citizens. they cannot get jobs and cannot vote and so forth. a lot of people who advocate --vate prisons [indiscernible] tripping --e profit profit driven private prisons are a detriment to our country. because when these prisons were crime naturally was at an all-time low. the so-called drug war took place during an all-time low as far as drug crime and so forth. what happened was they needed to justify the so-called war on drugs. that is when they went down towards -- [indiscernible]
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that is what they used to justify their so-called war on drugs. cities are seen as drug havens. this was created by ronald reagan, the so-called drug war, during a time when it was at an all-time low. host: all right, we will hear from another democrat. seeing finally we're common sense in washington. this this is a very important day, very important. we are starting to think straight. we're not thinking straight when we lock people up for smoking marijuana, especially when it is proven medicine. i have glaucoma and suffer from severe neck and back pain.
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if i was in any other state that arkansas or any other state that allows medical marijuana, i would be a patient. in arkansas, i am a criminal. i have been arrested a few times for marijuana. it is always the same thing, they just want your money. they want to lock you up. they want to harass you. i want to search your home. mafiakind of like a stayed down here in arkansas as far as keeping medical marijuana users from their medicine. host: have you had to do prison time? caller: no, but i have spent plenty of time in the county jail. it is not a fun experience being labeled a criminal when you are just trying to medicate your glaucoma and chronic neck and back pain. maybe our society has become -- should become a little bit more compassionate. host: how come you have not had to serve prison time? , you know, i just
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have not gotten in trouble enough. it is a misdemeanor. if you stay out of trouble for 3, 4, 5 years doma but it is always every four or five years i seem to get in trouble. host: we have a republican caller. caller: i think that this is a political move on the part of the obama administration. obama has been probably the most suppressive and most anti-libertarian president this country has had since woodrow wilson. and what is going on with this --e by eric holder is this theck obama wants to divide libertarian wing of the republican party, led by rand paul, from the authoritarian gop establishment. and i predict within the year
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that obama and holder will call for the total legalization of marijuana. up a vast part of the democratic party constituency, which no secret, many of him are pot smokers or x pot smokers. and two, to simply divide the is a way to lay the groundwork for the 2014 and 2016 selections. this is what is going on right now. host: >> in march democrat and rand paul on a proposal to allow judges greater flexibility in some case that is would be subject to man tori minimum prison sentences.
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>> what do you think? caller: i think it's interesting that they've come along on this because they have been with the authoritarian wing of the republican party. and i of course applaud rand paul for calling for judicial discretion in these cases. mandatory minimum sentencing was a very bad idea because it was a one size fits all approach to judicial sentencing and sentencing should be done on a case by case basis. host: a little history for our viewers. previous caller mentioned this, 30 years ago in june 1971
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president richard nixon declared the united states was launching a war on drugs and he promised there would be a frontal attack on our number one public enemy. in the decades that fold the demand for tough law enforcement became american political rhetoric.
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host: here is what supporters of mandatory sentencing say according to the d.c. bar. they believe that the harsh penalties would act as a deterrent, that fewer people would risk vovement with drugs. and those trafficking would be incapable of committing further crimes because they would be in prison. goes on to say, third in order to avoid long prison sentences those arrested would be more likely to cooperate with law enforcement. independent caller. hi john. >> hello.
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go. caller: it's a real deterrent when we have a million people in prison right now. that's working out real good for them. they are making all kinds of money off of this. it comes a time when you just got to do the right thing. i'm not going to call in with some whacky political thing. i'm libertarian but i don't want to be like the republicans are trying to get the democrats. that's half the problem. they don't do what is right. they do what can screw over the other side. marijuana should be legalized. it's safer than alcohol. it's safer than cigarette. i'm 50 years old. i have friends that are dying from drinking all their lives and their lives are ruined. and somehow marijuana got on the bad list of drugs and it's pretty much a joke. it's been proven it doesn't do much to you and it can be used
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as a medicine. and they denied that for years. they said no, there is no medical value but of course they have to admit there is medical value. it's just a bad law. it's not a political thing. t's just putting people -- innocent people in jail. the whole marijuana drug enforcement thing is a total failure. host: here are some numbers for you quoted in the newspapers this morning on this story about eric holder set to announce that he would like to reform the american prison system and reduce mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenders. for you.some numbers from 1980 to 2008, incarceration quadrupled. today the u.s. is 5% of the world population but 25% of
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world prisoners are in our prisons. african-american make up nearly 1 million of 2.3 million incarcerated. african-americans incarcerated at nearly six time the rate of whites. ey make up 25% of the u.s. population. let's hear from democratic call ner texas. caller: thank you for taking my call. all i can say is it's that time. this is about time. in 40 or 50 years ago it should have been done. it's sad the only thing we as americans learn from history is that we refuse to learn anything from history. if you want to look at a perfect example of this, look at the prohibition. look at the 18th amendment /'1"st amendment which reversed
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the 18th amendment here. the prohibition made millionaires out of thugs. now we are making billionaires out of thugs with this war on drugs. it's about time. the last caller said for whatever reason they made marijuana illegal or drugs illegal. if you look at the history it's all about racism. i'm white. let me get that clear. host: john, republican caller. caller: good morning. i've been a watcher of c-span for many many years. i'm 70 years old. i've tried other times to get through and have had no luck until today. before i make my comment about the legalization i would like to say somebody doesn't do his math correct. in an article you read about richard nixon in 1971 that stated 30 years ago, not according to my math.
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older 's probably an article. caller: another caller was laying this at the foot of the reagan administration and that's incorrect. because i've been there in those days and i was a young man living on long island in the days of the beatniks going into new york city before i got out of high school in 1960 and i tell you, within two years i was convinced that the legalization of marijuana should have occurred maybe some other light drugs. so i'm glad to see this is coming about. host: thanks for watching all those years. in other news the front page of the washington times has this story obama decrone strategy covers new moral ground. this is one of the reporters that joined us on news makers which airs on sunday at 10:00
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a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern time. and in the piece they quote our guest who is a california republican and a senior member of the house committee on foreign affairs. i want to show you the part that got taylor put in his piece. the congressman is responding to -- >> we'll leave "washington journal" here and go live to comments from attorney jenner rick holder to discuss prison reform this afternoon. this is live coverage on c-span. [applause]
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>> thank you. it's a pleasure to be here. and i want to thank bob for those kind words and for his service as chair of the american bar association's house of delegates. now it is a pleasure for me to be here with you this morning and it's also a privilege to join so many friends, colleagues and lead i.r.s. including the united states attorney for the northern district of california here in san francisco for the aba's 2013 annual meeting. i'd like to thank the delegates for all that you've done to bring us together this week and for your dedication to serving
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as faithful stewards to the greatest legal system that the world has ever known. from it earliest days our republic has been bound together by this system and by the value that is defipe it. these values, quality, opportunity and justice under law were first cod fide in the united states constitution and they were renewed and reclaimed nearly a century later by this organization's earliest members. with the founding of the a.b.a. in 1878 america's leading legal minds came together for the our time to revolutionize profession in the decades that followed, they created new standards for training and professional conduct. and they established the law as a clear and focused vocation at the heart of our country's identity. throughout history americans of all background and walks of
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life have turned to our legal system to settle dissputes but also hold accountable those who have done wrong and even to answer fundamental questions about who we are and who we aspire to be as a people on issues of slavery and segregation, on voting and violence, equal rights and equal justice. generations of principled lawyers have engaged directly in the work of building a more perfect union. today under the leadership of my good friend, president laura bellows. this organization is fighting against budget cuts. you're stanleding with me and my colleagues across the obama administration in calling for congressional action on common sense measures to prevent and reduce gun violence. and you're advancing our global fight against the crime of human trafficking. in so many ways today's a.b.a.
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is reminding us although our laws must be updated, our shared dedication to the cause of justice and ideals set forth by our constitution must remain constant. it is this sense of dedication that brings me to san francisco today to enlist your partnership in forging a more just society. in reclaiming once more the values we hold deer and the aba's leadership to question that had is accepted truth, to challenge that which is unjust, to break free of a tired status quo and to take bold steps, bold steps to reform and to strengthen america's criminal justice system in concrete and fundamental ways. it's time. in fact, it's well past time to address persistent needs and unwarranted disparities by considering a fundamentally new
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approach. now as a prosecutor, as a judge, as an attorney in private practice and now as our nation's attorney general, i have seen the criminal justice fnd and from nearly every angle. while i have the utmost faith in and dedication to america's legal system, we must face the reality that as it stands, our system is in too many ways broken. the the course that we are on is far from sustainable and it is our time and it is our duty to identify those areas that we can improve in order to better advance the cause of justice for all americans. now even as we see most crime rates decline, we need to examine new law enforcement strategies and better allocate resources to keep pace with threats adds violence spikes in some of our greatest cities. now as studies show, 6 in 10 american children are exposed
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to violence at some point in their lives. and nearly one in four college experience some form of sexual assault by their senior year. we need fresh solutions for assisting victims and empowering survivors. as the so-called war on drugs enters it's fifth decade we need to ask whether it and the approaches have been truly effective and build on the administration's efforts led by the office of national drug control policy to usher in a new approach. and with on out sized unnecessarily large prison population, we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punnish, to deter and to rehabilitate but not to warehouse and to forget. today a vicious cycle of poverty, criminal alty and incarceration traps too many americans and weakens too many communities. in many aspects of our criminal
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justice system may exass bait these problems rather than aleviate them. it's clear that too many americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason. [applause] it's clear that at a very basic level, the 25th century criminal justice solutions are not adequate to overcome our 21st century challenges. again, it is well past time to emp meant common sense change that is will foster safer community frs coast to coast. these are issues the president and i have been talking about for as long as i've known him. issues he's felt strongly about. he's worked hard over the years to protect our communities, to keep violent criminals off our streets and to make sure those
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who break the law are accountable. he's also made it part of his mission to reduce the dispar tiss in our criminal justice system. in illinois he passed legislation that addressed racial profiling. in 2010 this administration successfully advocated for the reduction of the unjust 100 to 1 between crack and powder cocaine. that's the balance the president and i have tried to strike. it's important to safe guard our communities and stay true to our values. we've made progress. but as you heard the president say a few weeks ago when he spoke about the trayvon martin case, he also believes as i do, that our work is far from finished. that's why over the next several months the president will reach out to members of congress from both parties as well as governors and marries and other leaders to build on the great work being done across the country to reduce
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violent crime and reform our criminal justice system. we need to keep taking steps to make sure people feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. and part of that means doing something about the lives being harmed, not helped by a criminal justice system that doesn't serve the american people as well as it should. at the beginning of this year i launched a targeted justice department review of the federal system to identify obstacles, inefficiencies and inequities and address ineffective policies. i'm pleased to announce the results of this review which include a series of what i think have significant action that is the department has undertaken to better protect the american people from crime, to increase support from those who become victims and ensure public safety by improving our criminal justice system as a whole. we have studied state systems and impressed by the policy
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shifts some have made. i hope other state systems will follow our lead and implement changes as well. the changes that i announce today underscore this administration's strong commitment to common sense criminal justice reform. our efforts must begin with law enforcement. particularly in these challenging times when budgets are tight, sequestration has posed irresponsible cuts and leaders are across government less, ed to do more with coordination has never been more important. it is imperative we maximize our resources by focusing on protecting national security, bill fighting against financial fraud and by safe guarding the most volatile members of our society. this means that federal prosecutors cannot and federal prosecutors should not bring every case or charge every
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defendant who stands accused of violating federal law. some issues are best handled at the state or local level. that's why i have directed today the united states attorney community to develop locally taylored guidelines for determining when federal charges should be filed and when they should not. i have issued guide tons ensure every case we bring serves a substantial federal interest and comp ments the work of our law enforcement partners. i have directed all u.s. attorneys to update comprehensive anti-violence strategies for badly agricted areas within their districts and encouraging them to queen regular law enforcement forums to refine these plans, to foster greater efficiency and facilitate more open communication and cooperation. by targetting the most seerns
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offenses, prosecuting the most dangerous criminals, directing assistance to crime hotspots and pursuing new ways to promote public safety and fairness, we in the federal government can become both smarter and tougher on crirme. [applause] by providing leader to ship to all levels of law enforcement, we can bolster the efforts of local leaders in the fight against violent crime. beyond this work through the community oriented policing services or cops, the justice department is helping police departments keep officers on the beat while enhancing training and support. $1.5 billion to save or create jobs in the local law enforcement.
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in the coming weeks we will announce more than $110 million to support the hiring of military veterans throughout the country. in addition to our landmark defending childhood initiative and the national forum on youth violence prevention, we are rallying leaders and community groups to better understand, address and prevent young people's exposure to violence. we have assembled a new task force to respond to the extreme levels of violence faced by far too many american indian and alaska native children. next month we will launch a national public awareness campaign and convene a youth summit to call for comprehensive solutions. and through the department civil rights diggs division we will work with allies like the department of education and others throughout the federal government and beyond to confront the school to prison
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pipeline and those zero tolerance school discipline policies that do not promote public safety and transform educational institutions to gate ways to the criminal justice system. a minor school disciplinary offense should put a student in the principal's office and not presinket. [applause] . we'll also continue offering resources in support to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and dating violence. earlier this summer i announced a new justice department initiative known as vision 21 which offers a shot of the current state of victim services. it calls for sweeping, evidence based changes to bring these services into the'1"st century and to empower all survivors by
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developing new ways to reach out to those who need our assistance the most. this work shows tremendous promise and i'm hopeful it will bring assistance to more crime victims across the country. but it is only the beginning. more broadly through the department's access to the civil rights division and a range of grant programs, this administration is bringing stake holders together in providing direct support to address the inqualities that unfold every day in america's crooms and the supreme court's decision. 50 years ago last march this landmark ruling afirmed that every defendant charged with a serious crime has the right to an attorney even if he or she can't afford one. america's indigent defense systems exist in a state of crisis.
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the promise of gid i don't know is not being met. to address this crisis -- [applause] to address this crisis congress must not only tepped forced bument cuts that have decimated public defenders nation wade, they must expand programs, provide access to counsel and increase funding for federal public defender offices. [applause] >> and every legal professional and that includes every member of this audience must answer the aba's call to contribute through probonn know service and realize the promise of equal justice for all. [applause] >> as we come together this
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morning, this same promise must lead to us acknowledge that although incar relation has a significant role to play in our justice system, widespread incar relation at the federal, state and local level is uneffective and unsustainable. it imposes a significant economic burden tolettle $80 billion in 2010 alone and comes with human and moral cost that are impossible to calculate. as a nation we are coldly efficient in our incarceration efforts. while the population has increased by a third, the federal prison population has grown by almost 800%. it's still growing. despite the fact that federal prisons are operating at 40% above capacity. even though this country come prices just 5% of the world's population, we incarcerate
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almost a quarter of the world's prisoners. more than 219 federal -- 219,000 federal inmates are behind bars. almost half of them are serving for drug related crimes. 9 to 10 million more cycle through america's local jails each year. and roughly 40% of former federal prisoners and more than 60% of state prisoners are reassisted or have their supervision revoked within three years after their released at great cost and often for technical or minor violations of the terms of their release. as a society we pay much too high a price whenever our system fails to deliver out comes that deter and fun sh crime, keep us safe and ensure those who have paid their debt have a chance to become productive citizens. right now unwarranted disparities are far too common. as president obama said just
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last month, it's time to ask tough questions about how we can strengthen our communities, how we can support young people. how we can address the fact that young black and latino men are likely to become involved in our criminal justice system as victims as well as perpetrators. we also must confront the reality that once they are in that system, people of color often face harsher punishments than their piers. one deeply troubling report released in february of this year indicates in recent years black male offenders have received sentences 20% longer than those imposed on while males of similar crimes. his is shameful. [applause] it is unworthy of our great
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country. it is unworthy of our great legal tradition. and in response i have today directed a group of u.s. attorneys to examine sentencing disparities and develop recommendations on how we can address them. in this area and in many others, in ways both large and small, we as a country must resolve to do better. the president and i agree that it's time to take a pragmatic approach. that's why i'm proud to announce today that the justice department will take a series of significant actions to recalibrate america's federal justice system. we will start by fundamentally rethinking the notion of mandatory minute -- minimum sentences for drug related crimes. [applause] some statute that is mandate inflexible sentences and this is regardless of the individual conduct that is at issue in a
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particular case reduce the discretion available to prosecutors, judges and to juries because they often times generate unfairly long sentences, they breed disrespect for the system. when applied indiscriminantly they do not serve public safety. they, and let's be honest some of the enforcement priorities we have set have had a destabilizing effect on particular communities. and applied inappropriately they are ultimately counter productive. i have mandated a modification of the charging policy so certain low level non-violent drug offenders will no longer be charged with offenses that impose mandatory minimum sentsenses. they now will be charged with
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offenses for which is ack anying sentences are suited to their individual conduct rather than excessive terms more appropriate for drug king pins. by serving high drug traffickers we can promote safety and rehabilitation while making our expenditures smarter and more productive. we have seen this approach has bipartisan support in congress. where a number of senators have introduced what i think is promising legislation aimed at giving federal judges more discretion in applying mandatory minimums to certain drug offenders. such legislation will save our country billions of dollars while keeping us more safe. the president and i look forward to working with mebles of both parties to remine and these fine and advance
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proposals. now compassionate release for extraordinary circumstances who pose no threat to the public. in late april they expanded the criteria for inmates seeking ret lease for medical reasons. today i can announce additional expansions including revised criteria for elderly inmates who did not create violent crimes and have served large portions of their sentences. we must ensure the american ublic is protected from anyone who may pose a danger to society. but non-violent offenders through a process that allows judges to consider whether release is warranted is the fair thing to do and the smart thing to do as well because it will enable us to use limited resources to house those who
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pose the greatest threat. finally we are taking steps to identify and share best practices for using drug treatment and community service initiatives that can serve as effective alternatives to incarceration. our u.s. attorneys are leading the way in this regard working alongside the judiciary safety imperatives while avoiding incarceration in certain cases. in south dakota a program has helped to present at risk young people from getting involved in the federal prison system there by improving lives, saving taxpayer resources and keeping communities safer. this is the kind of proven invasion that federal policy makers and state and tribal leaders should emulate. it's why the justice department is working through a program called the justice reinvestment initiative to bring partners together to comprehensively
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reform corrections and criminal justice practices. in recent years no fewer than 17 states supported by the justice department and led by governors and legislators of both parties have directed funding away from prison crubs and toward evidence based programs like treatment and supervision that are designed to redoes residvism. in kentucky they have reserved prison beds for the most serious offenders and use evidence based alttive programs. the state is going to reduce prison population by more than 3,000 over the next ten years saving $400 million. in texas investment in treatment for non-violent offenders brought about a reduction in prison population of 5,000 inmates last year alone. the same year similar efforts helped arkansas reduce its
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opulation in prison by 1400. reinvestment in serious reforms are improving public safety and saving precious resources. let me be clear. these measures have not compromised public safety. many states have seen drops at the same time their prison populations were declining. policy change that is led to these results must be studied and emulated. while our federal prison system has continued to expand, significant state level reductions have led to three consecutive years of decline in america's overall prison population including in 201, the largest drop ever experienced in a single year. these strategies can work. they've attracted bipartisan support in red states as well as blue states. it's past time for others to take notice.
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am announcing today i have directed every united states attorney to designate someone in their district to make sure this remains a top priority throughout the country. and my colleagues -- [applause] and my colleagues and i will work with state and local leaders in groups like the american bar association to extend these efforts. in recent years with the department's support, the aba has catalogged tens of thousands of statutes and regulations that have consequences on people who have been convicted of crimes. i have asked state attorneys general and variety leaders to review their own agency's regulations and i've directed all department of justice components going forward to consider whether any proposed
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guidance may impose unless consequences on those seeking to rejoin their communities. he bottom line -- [applause] the bottom line while the aggressive enforcement of criminal statutes remains necessary we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation. to be effective federal efforts must focus on prevention and reentry. we must never stop being tough on crime but we must also be smart and efficient when battling crime and the conditions and the individual choices that breed it. ultimately this is about much more than fairness for those who are released from prison. it's a matter of public safety and public good. it makes sense. it's about who we are as a people and it has the potential to positively impact the lives
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of every man, woman and child in every neighborhood and city in the united states. after all whenever a recidivist crime is committed innocent people are victimized. burden on law enforcement are increased and strained resources are depleted even further. today and together we must declare that we will no longer settle for such an unjust and unsustainable status quo. to do so would be to betray our founding principles of our nation. instead we must recommit ourselves as a cun friday to tackling the most difficult questions and the most costly problems no matter how complex or intractable they may appear. we must pledge as legal professionals to lend our talents, our training and our diverse perspectives to advancing this critical work. and we must resolve as a people to take a firm stand against
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violence, against victimization, against inquality and for justice. this is our chance to bring america's criminal justice system in line with our most sacred values. have s our opportunity to our time of progress and invasion. this is our promise to forge a more just society and this is our solemn obligation as stewards of the law to open a frank and constructive dialogue about the need to reform a broken system, to fight for the sweeping system i can changes that we need and up told our dearest values by calling on our piers and colleagues not merely to serve their clients or win their cases but to ensure that in every case, in every circumstance and in every community justice is done.
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this after all is the cause that has been our common pursuit. the ideal that has guided the a.b.a. since its inception and the goal that will guide president obama and the administration throughout the months ahead. of course we recognize, as you do, that the reforms i've announced today and others we must consider, explore and implement in the coming years will not take hold over night. there will be setbacks and false starts. we will encounter resistence, we will encounter opposition. but if we keep faith in one another and in the principles that we've always held dear. if we stay true to the a.b.a.'s history as a driver of positive change and if we keep moving forward together, knowing that the need for this work will out last us but determine the make the difference we seek, i know we can be confident in where these erts will lead us.
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i look fword to everything we will achieve and i will stand alongside you in building the more just, brighter and more prosperous future that all of our citizens deserve. thank you all so much for having me. [applause] >> attorney jenner rick holder at the annual meeting recommending a change in the justice department mandatory
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sentencing guidelines. low level non-violent drug offenders with no ties to gangs will no longer be charged with offenses that impose mandatory sentences. this is to address prison over crowding. that would reduce sentences for the elderly and to find an alternative to prison for non-violent drug offenders. we are opening our phone lines o get your thoughts. we are also taking your tweets. also want to welcome our c-span adio listeners on c-span radio in the washington, d.c. area. our first call is to newport news virginia on the democrats
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line, tony is our caller. caller: i think this is long overdue. i applaud holder and anybody else that backs him. thank you. host: our next call birmingham alabama , democrats line and that is ken. go ahead. caller: good afternoon. this is very elating. only a black man in america that has been sentenced for drugs would understand this. we are not talking about criminal that is just doing anything getting out, big drug dealers. we are speaking of men that have been locked up for just having a certain amount of drugs on them. this is great. we need to change these laws because first of all, it's the law of the land that justice
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supposed to be equal for all of us. loving it eric holder. dwreat day in america. host: on the independents line in maine. go ahead. caller: it's the fwreatest thing i've seen in all of my life. i've spent all of my life watching for this to happen. i've waited literally years to watch the war that was promoted as a war on drugs finally come to a conclusion at least on something that is simple that is so non-invasive as marijuana. i think it's the greatest thing this congress and government has done yet. this insane nonsense, put a stop to a war that should have been declared over with, not 20 or 30 but 50 plus years ago. these are draconian laws and i
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can't wait to finally see it actually legalized all over the country. it's a great day for this country. thank you. host: from our facebook page, sandy agrees with you. it was all about warehousing people for profit. jeffrey says legalized marijuana would help clear out prison overthrows. melissa says this is terrible. drugs are dangerous and there is a reason why they are illegal. i worry about my children growing up in a society that makes light of mind altering drug use. xt gerald calling ohio independents line. caller: i agree this is way overdue. the reason we have drug laws is because of greed, ignorance and raisism. imple as that. host: john in georgia democrats
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line. caller: i think this is very long overdue. rights have been violated. i see what they are in the rison for. e need to make the neighbors safe. [indiscernible] every individual case should go to a judge and jury and decide the seriousness of the case and whether the person should be put in jail for a small amount of crack cocaine or powder cocaine. host: among the items that attorney general holder rected his torpejens to have
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guidelines when to file charges and not too. and giving judges wider freedom in sentences that require mandatory minimums for certain drug offenses. he does not plan to announce any changes on marijuana which is illegal under federal law. caller: thank you for having me fment i would like to touch base ob the lady that facebooked in that says she's worried about her children. my comment would be i would be more concerned about your child becoming one of the 1 million kids that are working in drug gangs and prohibition is what has caused this. we need to use education to educate our children and duments about any harms of drugs. we did it with cigarettes, we can do it with this. we didn't have to arrest people to get cigarettes, the drop in
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crews to go down 50%. i applaud eric holder and president obama for the first time. this will be obama's legacy. this will help people in this country and it will help with public safety. continue the good work. host: next pennsylvania democratic caller. caller: i am a caucasian woman who has been in contact for about 30 years writing to prissners for varieties of reasons and sending books. and i have sure knowledge of how many were imprezened not correctly but there is one there now for two life times and never killed anybody. it's a crazeness. there is also another objection that i have which is that the
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prisons went into business and a lot of what i'm understanding for years is how they put other people out of business by using prison labor for their businesses. this is really an snanty. so i'm really hoping that mr. holder will really prevail. thank you very much. host: next to the republicans line, pennsylvania and william is our next caller. go ahead. caller: i'm a republican and i have smoked pot. i don't smoke it now. but i firmly think that locking people up for having an ounce on them or a joint is absurd. it's ridiculous. i don't think there is been any proof that marijuana will do anything to you. i think it should be regulated though. like alcohol is regulated which does do the body harm. but putting people in prison
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for it for years and years is absolutely ridiculous. it's a run away legal system that is not thinking clearly. i'm glad somebody is starting to think clear about it. i'm not democrat, i'm republican and i'm a white male. and i don't care what color you are nobody should be going to prison for a bag of pot on them three times or not for life. host: a tweet about the crack addicts being punished harder than cocaine. how will the holder plan at the state level? prosecute toirl discretion is still a barrier. what can they do about the school to prison pipeline? it is entirely local. next to james in ohio on the
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independents line. caller: i just want to go based off of what you were saying. we need to keep the laws at the state level. the federal should defer to the state. because each state knows what drugs and what crimes is affecting their communities. and everybody that is speaking on the school to pipeline from education to prison, you got to understand those are two separate systems. the education system is different and the street violence and drug violence. and my last comment would be to everybody mentioning about harm of pot or non-harm of pot. let's not forget that the columbians, the mexican cartels, the crimes and hurt they are bringing upon people to get those drugs into our country for the little highs. host: paul from california,
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republican caller. caller: two points. one is i work a lot in prison industry and i've seen with my own eyes the disparity in the racial makeup of prison inmates and it's shocking when you actually see it. host: tell us about that. caller: i'm a white man and i walk in -- i work with juveniles in juvenile hall and men in jail and prison. i can tell you that the prison population demographics racially don't even come close to matching what you see as you are walking on the street somewhere. intellectly we understand the facts we hear about the disproportionate number of people of color in prison but when you enter a prison yard and see this, it's shocking. and it's no surprise to me that our minority communities are up
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in arms about this. they should be. it's striking. the second point is i'd like to understand what the corollary might be between the pay for play prison industry, the prison complex and the profit motive and the spike that we've had or the sharp increase we've had in our prison pop lapings. we seem to be on a j curve and it's been the past several decade that we've had this startup of prisons as an industry as opposed to something run by our government. host: according to the wash post the federal prison population has grown by 800% since 1980. justice department officials have said they are operating at nearly 40% over capacity. next michael, a democrat caller. caller: praise the lord, i thank god they finally woke up
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and done something that makes common sense. these people that are addicts that has got a drug problem, instead of putting them in jail, they need to try to get them treatment. but these king pins and all these fwreedy people that are making drugs and destroying people's lives, they need to be put under the jail and never let out. i thank god in heaven that we're waking up and smelling the coffee. it's stupid to put somebody in jail when they've got a problem and we need to get them treatment. thank you. host: the independents line in new jersey. caller: good afternoon. i think this is all well and good but it doesn't go far enough. when an inmate is released, he needs to be able to live with his family, vote, have those rights given back to him. he needs to be able to get a
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job. we're taking one step but we need to do much more to improve the whole outcome of when they are released. host: what more should be done? caller: well we should have the inmates live with their families especially if they live in public housing. if they return to their family, their whole family is penalized for having an inmate live with them. that law should be struck down. if an inmate is released he should have his right to vote reinstated because he paid his debt to society. that law needs to be struck down. and of course when an inmate is released he needs to get a job so he won't go back. that should take into effect when he's released, help him get a job. host: patrick lay hee has weighed in on attorney general's efforts.
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as a former prosecutor i understand criminals must be held accountable and long sentences are sometimes necessary to keep violent criminals off the street. our reliance on mandatory minimums is a great mistake and i'm encouraged the department of justice has joined the course that question the one size fits all approach. it does not make it safer. he has crafted legislation that would give judges greater flexibility in employing mandatory sentencing. it has bipartisan support and support from over 50 former prosecutors and judges. mark is next in tennessee on the republican line. a republican and i've got to say this is the first cultural forum that any of us can stomach. we're excited and happy. we encourage it.
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i think this say good time for america. we can get marijuana legalized and taxed and put americans to work with that whole industry. host: shannon, republican caller. caller: this is way overdue. i'm a white man. i could never understand the drug laws in this country. i've been in prison for possession of marijuana. it's ridiculous. it's about profit. they put you on probation. you got to pay the probation officer, you got to pay the court cost. it's ridiculous. they got all these people in rison locked up that have drug habits. i'm not talking about the marijuana but the harder drugs. the whole system needs to be revamped with this drug laws. caller: this comment on facebook, i think holder should be in jail for fast and furious. his drug cartel weapons are
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killing people on both sides of the border. and is it possible that tea partiers and libertarians will be against it now that holder is for it? we're taking your comments from facebook and twitter. democratic caller from kansas. go ahead. it's getting ad legal. inaudible] it should be like any other thing that come out of the earth, legal. host: we appreciate your call. the united states holds about 5% of the world's population t a quarter of the world's
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prisoners are in the united states. almost half of the prisoners are serving time for drug related crimes. if you missed any of what the attorney general had to say we will have it again at 8:00 eastern on c-span. also coming up today former secretary state hillary clinton will be speaking at the bar association meeting today. we are planning live coverage of that. hat will be on our companion etwork on c-span2.
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bobby scott age of at 6:30 eastern. and we'll go to the national press club today for remarks on the government of public affairs offices and transparency, coverage of that begins at 6:30 eastern on c-span2. clocks of all the handsome young officer surrounding my grandfather -- my grandmother, she was 23 at the time. my grandfather could not talk to her because of all the handsome young men around. to go upstairs and do it they had to do and what they were trained to do. she knew her father was up there. my grandfather fell in behind there, going up the steps. someone came running back saying do not let her up there, her father is dead. and she heard that, my grandmother